LMC Mathletes among best in region

Published 7:50 am Friday, December 18, 2015

BENTON TOWNSHIP — They don’t wear jerseys and you won’t find them battling opponents on a court or field, but they have just as much strength, drive and determination as any other competitive team.

They’re the Lake Michigan College Mathletes.

Since 2009, Lake Michigan College students have armed themselves with practice tests, calculators, pencils, and paper to attack twenty daunting math problems in just one hour during the bi-annual Student Math League Competition, held by the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges.

In October, 18 LMC Mathletes competed against 1,200 students from 181 teams across the nation. The results are in and LMC earned record scores.

The six, top-ranking LMC students are Michael Hettlinger, Rebecca Jacobs, Jonah Kubath, David Shane, Nicholas Spearitt and Matthew Starkey.

Shane’s score was the highest ever attained by an LMC student and the sixth best in the Midwest region. Jacobs’ score tied for 19th best in the region.

Shane is a math major and works as a tutor at Mathnasium. He plans to pursue bachelors and masters degrees once he earns his associates degree from LMC.

Jacobs plans to pursue an engineering degree and is inspired by her children to excel in math.

“I want them to see me do well, and to take math and higher education seriously,” she said.

Both students agree that LMC mathematics professor Jim Larson has been instrumental in their math success, both in class and as a mentor for the Student Math League Competition.

“Mr. Larson is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. If you have a good teacher, it makes a huge difference,” said Jacobs.

The American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges is the only organization exclusively devoted to providing a national forum for the improvement of mathematics instruction in the first two years of college. The organization has approximately 1,800 individual members, more than 150 of which are institutional members located in the United States and Canada.