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Emily Welker, Published May 02 2014

Majoring in math, art makes sense for Concordia senior who graduates Sunday

MOORHEAD – Nature prefers symmetry – from the balance of an oak tree’s branches, to the sweep of a starfish’s arms.

As unusual as pursuing degrees in art and mathematics may be, graduating Concordia senior Megan Menth points out there’s symmetry in that, too.

“In a way, they’re connected. I see them as connected,” she said. “Creativity is huge in math, and I think that’s something that gets overlooked a lot in colleges.”

Menth said she “definitely” takes a more analytical approach to her art. “I kind of see it all happen before it happens.”

Menth, who is preparing to graduate Sunday during commencement ceremonies that begin at 2:30 p.m., originally pursued art and math degrees with the intention of focusing on art professionally.

She stuck with both, despite combining an estimated 80 to 90 hours per week of classes and homework with a part-time job in the campus dining hall.

“Sometimes I feel like I missed out on some stuff,” Menth admitted.

Instead of games and parties, her best memories will be the hours spent bonding over shared studies with fellow mathematics majors, she said.

One of her math projects helped set her on a path to graduate school, where she will pursue a master’s degree in operations research.

Menth designed a computer program that uses data analysis to create the best possible dining hall work schedule for her fellow students. It’s a program that’s being used on campus today.

That project, and others she undertook as a budding mathematician, made her realize math was her real love.

She’s not ruling out a return to art someday, but her goal now is to work for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Wherever her career takes her, it’s likely she’ll apply her bent for symmetry.

“The more I learn, the more I realize I have so much to learn,” she said. “Every project is going to take me new places.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541