Dr. Darin Stephenson of the Hope College mathematics faculty has been elected vice-chair for four-year colleges of the Michigan Section of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA).

He will serve during the 2008-09 school year. He was elected during the section's annual meeting, held at GrandValleyStateUniversity in Grand Rapids on Friday and Saturday, May 2-3.

Stephenson is an associate professor of mathematics and chairperson of the department at Hope, where he has taught since 1997.

His involvement with the MAA has included serving for three years on the planning committee for the yearly Michigan Undergraduate Mathematics Conference (MUMC). He also chaired the Organizing Committee for the MUMC when it was held at Hope in 2006.

Within the field of mathematics he specializes in ring theory, geometry and probability. He has also become involved in curriculum development, and is writing a textbook that is being used in Hope's sophomore-level mathematics courses, Multivariable Mathematics I and II.

Stephenson regularly involves Hope students in his research. This summer he is working with five students on two projects: "A Stochastic Approach to Lights Out," with funding provided by Hope's National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant in mathematics; and a curriculum-development project funded through Hope's Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant.

He has had articles concerning his research published in scholarly journals including the "Journal of Algebra," the "Transactions of the American Mathematical Society," the "Journal of Pure and Applied Algebra," and the "Pi Mu Epsilon Journal." In January 2000 he presented the seminar "Cryptology: The Mathematics of Secrets" during the college's annual Winter Happening.

Stephenson graduated from the University of Kentucky with a major in mathematics in 1988. He completed Master of Science and doctoral degrees in mathematics at the University of Michigan in 1990 and 1994 respectively. After completing his doctorate, he served as the S.E. Warschawski Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of California, San Diego from 1995 to 1997.

Founded in 1915, the MAA is a forum for educators, students, professionals, and mathematics enthusiasts to share ideas, keep abreast of developments in the mathematical community, enhance their careers and make new friends. The organization's membership includes more than 25,000 individuals and institutions nationally. The Michigan section held its first formal meeting in 1924.