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Bethel hosts Kansas Section meeting of math association

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – It’s not often a Bethel College team can boast of defeating the University of Kansas.

When it comes to solving mathematics problems, however, Bethel did just that, in a competition that was part of the annual spring meeting of the Kansas Section of the Mathematical Association of America, held May 2-3 on the Bethel College campus.

In a close three-way race, Bethel’s problem-solving team of Kyle Claassen, sophomore from Andover, Matthew Hershberger, sophomore from Clay Center, and Paul Regier, junior from Newton, finished just behind Kansas State’s team and just ahead of KU’s.

More than 100 people attended the meeting, organized by Christopher Earles, Bethel assistant professor of mathematics, in keeping with his duties as chair-elect of the Kansas Section (he became chair at the close of the May 3 business meeting).

Stephen J. Brams, professor of politics at New York University, was the keynote speaker. His areas of interest and research are game theory and its applications, particularly in political science and international relations, and social choice theory, particularly as applied to voting and elections.

His Friday evening talk was titled “How Democracy Resolves Conflict in Difficult Games” and his Saturday afternoon talk was titled “Voting Systems that Combine Approval and Preference.”

In addition to the keynote address and the Kansas Section business meeting, participants could attend talks on various mathematical subjects.

Pictured holding Bethel’s second-place plaque are, left, Matthew Hershberger and Kyle Claassen. In back are, from left, Richard Rempel, professor of mathematics, Paul Regier, Karl Friesen, assistant professor of computer science, and Christopher Earles (photo by Melanie Zuercher).

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the highest ranked Kansas college in the national liberal arts category of U.S. News & World Report’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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