Maplesoft Blogger Profile: Kathleen McNichol

Director, Marketing Communications

I am the Director of Marketing Communications at Maplesoft. I am responsible for all direct marketing in North America including emails, direct mails, newsletters, all advertising, and webinars; international marketing; tradeshows; sponsorships; and print materials including brochures, flyers, posters, etc.

I was born in the driveway of a country house that my dad bought because it had beautiful lilac trees in the front yard. It also had no electricity and no running water. This is where I spent my formative years. I’ve been told that explains a lot. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English from York University and a college diploma in Business Marketing from Georgian College. I’ve worked as a marketer in the high-tech industry for all of my professional career. In 2001 I won the City of Owen Sound Economic Development Award for Outstanding Sales Promotion.

I put a lot of words like “Buy Now!” and “Learn More Today!” and “Save!” in my writing. I like exclamation points.

Posts by Kathleen McNichol

Here at Maplesoft, we like to foster innovation in technological development. Whether that is finding solutions to global warming, making medical discoveries that save millions, or introducing society to very advanced functional robots, Maplesoft is happy to contribute, support and encourage innovative people and organizations researching these complex topics. This year, we are delighted to have sponsored two contests in the robotics field that provide opportunities to think big and make an impact: Create the Future Design Contest and the International Space Apps Challenge. 

Create the Future Design Contest

Established in 2002, and organized by TechBriefs, the goal of the Create the Future Design Contest is to help engineers bring their product design ideas to life. The overall ‘mission of the contest is to benefit humanity, the environment, and the economy.’ This year, there were a record 1,159 new product ideas submitted by students, engineers, and entrepreneurs from all over the globe. In the machinery/automation/robotics category, which Maplesoft sponsored, the project with the top votes was designed by two engineers who chose to name their innovation CAP Exoskeleton, a type of assistive robotic machine designed to aid the user in walking, squatting, and carrying heavy loads over considerable distances. It can either be used to enhance physical endurance for military purposes or to help the physically impaired perform daily tasks. A contest like Create the Future is a perfect opportunity, for engineers in particular, to learn, explore, and create. 

The CAP Exoskeleton - ©2015 Create the Future Design Contest


International Space Apps Challenge

The exploration of space has always been unique in its search for knowledge. The International Space Apps Challenge, a NASA incubator innovation program, is an ‘international mass collaboration focused on space exploration that takes place over 48-hours in cities around the world’. It is a unique global competition where people rally together to find solutions to real world problems, bringing humanity closer to understanding the Earth, the universe, the human race, and robotics. These goals, the organizers believe, can be reached much faster if we combine the power of the seven billion or so brains that occupy the planet, not forgetting the six that are currently orbiting above us aboard the International Space Station. The competition is open to people of all ages and in all fields, including engineers, technologists, scientists, designers, artists, educators, students, entrepreneurs, and so on. With an astounding 13,846 participants from all over the world, several highly innovative solutions were presented. 

Maplesoft sponsored the University of York location in the UK where the winning team of five modeled an app called CropOp, a communication tool that connects the government to local farmers with the goal of providing instantaneous, crucial information regarding pest breakout warnings, extreme weather, and other important updates. This UK-based team believes the quality and quantity of food produced will be improved, especially benefiting the undernourished communities in Africa. Maplesoft supports the Space Apps Challenge because it proves that collaboration makes for bigger and better discoveries that can save millions of people.


Donating Maplesoft software for contestants to use is part of the sponsorship. The real delight is to wait and see what innovative concepts they come up with. When we sponsor contests like these, we find it benefits our software as much as it does the participants. Plus, if the contestants can provide solutions to real world issues, well, that benefits everyone! 

Like most companies today, Maplesoft monitors its website traffic, including the traffic coming to MaplePrimes. This allows us to view statistical data such as how many total visits MaplePrimes gets, how many unique visitors it gets, what countries these visitors come from, how many questions are asked and answered, how many people read but never respond to posts, etc. 

Recently one of our regular MaplePrimes users made the comment that MaplePrimes does not reach new Maple users. We found this comment interesting because our data and traffic numbers show a different trend. MaplePrimes gets unique visitors in the hundreds of thousands each year, and since its inception, it has welcomed unique visitors in the many millions. Based on these unique visitor numbers and the thousands of common searches specifically about Maple that people are doing, we can see that many of these unique visitors are in fact new Maple users looking for resources and support as they begin using Maple. Other visitors to MaplePrimes include people who use Google (or other search engines) to find an answer to a particular mathematics or engineering question, regardless of what mathematics software they choose to use, and Google points them to MaplePrimes. There are some popular posts that were written months, even years ago, that are still getting high visitor views today, showing the longevity of the information on MaplePrimes. 

MaplePrimes gets the majority of its visible activity from a small number of extremely active members. In public user forums around the world, these types of members are given many names – power users, friendlies, evangelists. Every active public user forum has them. On MaplePrimes, it’s this small number of active members that are highly visible. But, what our traffic data reveals is the silent majority. These people, many of them repeat visitors, are quietly reviewing the questions and answers that our evangelists are posting. The silent majority of MaplePrimes visitors are the readers; they are the quiet consumers of information. For every person that writes, comments on, or likes a post, there are thousands more that read it. 

Here are a few more MaplePrimes traffic data points for your reference:

  • MaplePrimes is very international and draws people from all around the world. Here are the top 10 countries where the most MaplePrimes visitors come from:
    1. USA
    2. India
    3. Canada
    4. Germany
    5. China
    6. United Kingdom
    7. Brazil
    8. Australia
    9. France
    10. Denmark
  • Here are the top 5 keywords people are using in their searches on MaplePrimes:
    1. Data from plot
    2. Physics
    3. Sprintf
    4. Size of plot
    5. Fractal
  • MaplePrimes is growing at a very fast rate: Traffic (visitors to the site) and membership size is growing at nearly double the pace it was last year. The total number of posts and questions this year is also much higher compared to the same timeframe last year. 
  • Our top 5 MaplePrimes members have each visited MaplePrimes more than 1200 times and viewed a combined total of more than 10,000 pages (that is total page views, not unique page views). Our top 25 MaplePrimes members have visited at least 250 times each (many of them nearly 1000 times each) and our top 50 MaplePrimes members have visited a combined total of over 23,000 times, visiting nearly 200,000 pages. Thank you! We’re glad you like it. :-)


Philip Yasskin, a long-time Maple user and professor at Texas A&M University is passionate about getting young people engaged in mathematics. One of his programs is SEE-Math: a two-week summer day camp for gifted middle school children interested in math. Maplesoft has been a long-standing supporter of SEE-Math, providing software and prizes for the campers.

A major project in SEE-Math is developing computer animations using Maple. Students spend their time creating various animations, in hopes of taking the top prize at the end of the workshop. A slew of animations are submitted, some with pop-culture references, elaborate plot lines, and incredible detail. The top animations take home prizes, while all animations from that year are featured on the SEE-Math website.

Maplesoft proudly sponsors this event, and many like it, to promote interest in STEM education. To see all of the animations from this year’s SEE-Math camp, please visit: You can find the animations listed under “Euler,” “Godel,” “Noether,” and “Ramanujan,” found halfway down the page.

A happy Maple recipient...

June 12 2015 Kat 112 Maple

Last month, we received a very kind note from a recipient of one of our sponsorships. Maplesoft sponsors several academic and commercial events throughout the year, providing free copies of Maple or MapleSim to lucky attendees. Audrey was one of the winners of the Elgin Community College Calculus Contest, where she won a copy of Maple. Here’s what she had to say:

Thank you so much for the Maple license.  I have become familiar with Maple during the last school year.  At first the commands were like Chinese to me and I had a rough time getting anything done, but once I made a connection between the commands and what they were doing it was a lot easier.  Even without former knowledge of computer programing, the commands are increasingly intuitive.  Maple has been a huge help to me doing my homework and projects, and even as I was studying for the competition it was useful for checking my answers.  Another reason that I love Maple is that it provides visuals for the difficult concepts we learned in class, such as shell method in Calc II and mixed partial derivatives in Calc III.  I enjoy math, but I thank that Maple has enriched my experience along the way.

Thank you again for your generous gift, 


It’s always nice to hear how students and professionals alike are succeeding with the help of Maple. If you’d like to share your experience, please send an email to or post it here on MaplePrimes.

Recently, a Maplesoft customer service representative received an e-mail from one of our users with the subject line: A Simple Thank You. We wanted to share this message with you, as it demonstrates how the power and flexibility of Maple helped one student get ahead in his studies.

The following is an actual email we received from Eli E., which describes his experience using Maple as a university student.

Hello, my name is Eli...

Hi. I am the Marketing Communications Manager at Maplesoft. This is the first piece of writing where you get to know who I am, but many of you have probably already read a lot of what I’ve written. I am responsible for the promotion of Maplesoft products. It’s my job to take what the really smart Maplesoft employees create and turn it into something engaging (and typically say all I need to say in 3 paragraphs or less, or in the case of subject lines, 49 characters or less). Within every piece of highly technical math-filled piece of writing is a gem of a story waiting to be brought out. I try (sometimes successfully, I hope) to bring out these stories. Every time you’ve read our newsletter “The Maple Reporter,” an email, or a letter from Maplesoft, you’ve read my work. My goal is for people to read what I write and say “I want that!” or “how do I do that?”

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