Something to prove: Junior Ryan Matzke’s work in mathematics leads him to South Africa, Hungary

“Mathematics is definitive,” said Ryan Matzke, a junior mathematics major and physics minor at Gettysburg College. “If you prove something, you don’t need to worry about people arguing over it due to their opinions. If you prove it, then it’s true.” 

This drive to unveil the absolute may be why Matzke has blossomed into one of the nation’s top undergraduates in the study of Graph Theory, specifically Edge Grundy Numbers, and has earned a variety of research opportunities throughout the U.S. and abroad.

But long before he devoted himself to understanding the functions of vertices, points, and lines, his journey began with a little orange dot.

As a high school senior, Matzke was interested in pursuing a degree in the sciences at a larger university, such as the University of Pittsburgh or Penn State, but found an unmatched comfort level on the Gettysburg College campus.

“I had the best feeling about the school,” Matzke said. “I met a bunch of like-minded people—which made a very good first impression—and I felt the College had tremendous value.”

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