Mathematician Kathryn Mulholland joins Notre Dame faculty

Author: Naya Tadavarthy

Kathryn Mulholland 200 Sharpened

In her work on campus and beyond, Kathryn Mulholland helps students of all ages and abilities foster a love of math. Mulholland joined the Department of Mathematics as an Assistant Professor of the Practice this fall, and she looks forward to continuing her teaching and community outreach efforts here. 

This semester, though, is not Mulholland’s first on campus. In fact, she also attended graduate school at Notre Dame, where she focused on the connection between cluster algebras and Poisson geometry. 

“I chose ND for graduate school because I loved the faculty in the math department and immediately felt like a part of the community here,” Mulholland explained. “I chose to stay at ND as an Assistant Professor of the Practice because I want to continue being part of the community in a faculty role and because ND has so many resources and opportunities for professional development.” 

As a professor, Mulholland is pivoting her future research toward the scholarship of teaching and learning, in which she will investigate how practices in her own classroom affect student development. Currently, she teaches calculus in the Science & Engineering Scholars Program, with an emphasis on collaborative learning among a small cohort of students. 

“Notre Dame students are very motivated and driven to succeed,” Mulholland said. “They are also very intentional about forming connections, not just with their peers but also with faculty and staff on campus.”

This year, Mulholland will also continue working with Notre Dame’s Office of Digital Learning, for whom she previously taught summer courses, and the Kaneb Center, where she served as a graduate associate.

While she develops digital content and creates pedagogical workshops with these education-focused groups, Mulholland hopes to expand her engagement at Notre Dame even further. She will draw on the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture to promote “the richness of the Catholic moral and intellectual tradition through [her] teaching,” an interest she shares with her husband, Brian Mulholland, who also became an Assistant Professor of the Practice in the Department of Mathematics this year. 

Additionally, Mulholland would like to design an experiential learning course and connect with the South Bend community through the Center for Social Concerns. During her graduate studies, Mulholland had already found ways to develop mathematical curiosity in young minds in the Michiana area. She judged at a local science fair, taught at a STEM conference for middle school girls, and tutored for Upward Bound, a college preparatory program for students in the South Bend schools. Last year, Mulholland also helped facilitate a “math circle” at Notre Dame, where kindergarten to twelfth-grade students solve hands-on problems that do not require deep background knowledge but can lead to rich mathematical understanding. 

“In general, I am passionate about inspiring young people to become critical thinkers and problem solvers and supporting currently underrepresented students in STEM,” Mulholland said. “I'm looking forward to continuing to volunteer with Upward Bound and the Math Circle and to seeking out new opportunities to engage with the Notre Dame and broader community.”