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Hendrix Students Compete in International Math Contest

CONWAY, Ark. (April 16, 2015) – Two teams of Hendrix students participated in the International COMAP Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM) this spring. 

This year’s competitors included:

  • Connor Bell ’16
  • Elizabeth Dye ’16
  • Travis Howk ’17
  • John McAvey ’16
  • Ryan Rose ’17
  • Candyce Sarringar ’17

In the MCM, two mathematical modeling problems were revealed at 7 p.m. on a Thursday, and each team selected one problem to investigate. They then researched, developed, and evaluated mathematical and computational models over the weekend, culminating the submission of a comprehensive report on Monday, at 7 p.m. Both teams successfully submitted a paper in the competition. See an overview of the problems for this year’s contest here.

Bell, Dye, and McAvey were awarded a meritorious designation for their work on Problem B, which required the students to build a generic mathematical model that could assist in planning a useful search for a lost plane feared to have crashed in open water.

“On Thursday night, none of us knew a thing about planes or rescue operations,” Dye said. “However, by Monday night we were almost experts on the topic. It was amazing how much we kept trying to learn throughout the weekend due to our desire to continuously improve upon our original model.”

Bell added, “MCM gave me an opportunity to apply my skills from my computer science coursework to a real-life scenario, leaving the classroom behind for an interdisciplinary exploration that might help save lives.”

“This is an excellent achievement; being a meritorious winner places them in the top 11 percent of teams worldwide,” said Hendrix computer science professor Dr. Mark Goadrich.

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. This year, Hendrix was named the country’s #1 “Up and Coming” liberal arts college and #8 in the nation for “Best Undergraduate Teaching” by U.S. News and World Report.  Hendrix is featured in the 2015 Fiske Guide to Colleges, Forbes magazine's list of America's Top Colleges, the 2014 Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges, and the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit