• Overleaf Author Interview: Mike Waddell, Florida International University

    Posted by John on November 10, 2015
    Mike Waddell photo

    "I've used Overleaf to write many papers. It's absolutely amazing. Thanks so much for providing this free service." – Mike Waddell

    That's the kind of email we love to receive!

    Mike, who's an undergraduate Physics and Mathematics senior at Florida International University, got in touch with us after his recent submission to PeerJ PrePrints from Overleaf, and that was the first line in his follow up email.

    Given that he'd enjoyed the experience so much, we naturally took the opportunity to ask him to tell us more about himself and about his experiences of using Overleaf! Read the full interview below, or check out the PeerJ template on Overleaf if you're already inspired to start writing your own article :)

    Overleaf: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?

    Mike: I grew up in São Paulo, Brazil and I'm 26 years old. I'm currently an undergraduate Physics and Mathematics senior at Florida International University, and I have a previous degree in International Relations and Economics from the George Washington University. My research has primarily focused on space systems (cube-satellites) and robotics, but I try and solve simple open problems in mathematics in my free time. When I graduate in April 2016, I want to get an advanced degree in Applied Mathematics.

    Overleaf: What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

    Mike: My biggest problem is finding collaborators who are as passionate about the research topic as I am. There's nothing more exciting than working with someone on a problem where all collaborators are equally excited about the solution, but this is rarer than you would think.

    Overleaf: How did you first find out about Overleaf?

    Mike: I scoured the internet for a Latex processor that was all inclusive. I found many programs and versions that only partially did what I wanted, or were packaged in such a way that the installation process was frustrating, non-intuitive, or outright impossible. Then I stumbled upon Overleaf (it was called something else at the time) that successfully did all of this. It was only after trying multiple websites that attempted to provide the same services but ultimately failed to do so.

    Overleaf: How would you describe your experience of using Overleaf?

    Mike: Overleaf is incredibly easy to use. With the live updates from changes made to the code to the preview of the paper, learning how to code in Latex was incredibly easy. Don't get me started on how amazing it is that you can find the journal/conference you want, import that specific latex format, and then directly send your paper directly to that publisher. As an added convenience, you can share your paper with any person or audience and they can see your live updates and there's even an option to allow them to contribute to the writing process.

    Overleaf: What's next for you and your work?

    Mike: For my senior thesis, I'm solving 3 open problems in Latin Squares, the solutions for which I'll apply to statistical physics. I'll definitely be writing it in Overleaf. In the meantime, I'm trying to survive my Quantum Mechanics class.

    Overleaf: In summary, how would you describe Overleaf in a single sentence?

    Mike: If you want to write an academic paper, there is literally no better option than Overleaf.

    Thanks Mike! Good luck with your studies and with your future research collaborations!