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11/23/2005 Durand tapped for Hungarian math program

McMINNVILLE – Linfield College junior Kira Durand of Sisters will combine two of her favorite things, math and travel, after being accepted into the Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Program in Hungary.

Durand, a mathematics major, will attend the intensive math school and live with a host family in Budapest during spring semester. Through this program, mathematics and computer science majors in their junior and senior years may spend one or two semesters in Budapest and study under the tutelage of eminent Hungarian scholar-teachers. The instructors of Budapest Semesters in Mathematics are members of Eotvos University and the Mathematical Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Durand, who spent last summer engaged in collaborative research focusing on graph theory at Linfield, will learn more about that subject and also study combinatorics. She said the Hungarian program specializes in these two areas.

"I’ve taken a combinatorics class at Linfield, but I want to learn more," she said. "If I’m going to be learning combinatorics, that’s the best place to go to study. I hope to develop further my mathematics and I want to see more of the world."

The competitive program requires applicants to have had significant math experience, according to Chuck Dunn, assistant professor of mathematics at Linfield. Though Durand is only a junior, she has taken most of Linfield’s upper division math courses.

"I thought she was a perfect student for this program," he added. "She’ll be focusing her study on math, so it’s going to give her a taste of what grad school is like."

Durand plans to earn a Ph.D. in math and eventually teach or use her skills in research.

Durand is the daughter of Rob and Lynda Durand of Sisters and a 2003 graduate of Sisters High School. She is a member of the Linfield Math Club and is a math tutor. She also volunteers for Start Making a Reader Today at Grandhaven Elementary School and coaches volleyball for Special Olympics.

Though Durand came to Linfield because of the math program, she was also drawn to the broad liberal arts curriculum, which combines classes spanning the arts and humanities, natural sciences, and social and behavioral sciences.

"I’m pretty well-rounded in that I like a lot of different subjects," she said. "I appreciated that Linfield was strong enough that it offered, and even required, a lot of other courses."