Faculty Profile: Dr. Catherine Buell, Mathematics

Posted by Matthew Bruun on January 21, 2015 at 10:31 AM

Where did you complete your academic studies?

I completed my undergraduate bachelor of science in mathematics (with minors in dance and computer programming) at Springfield College in 2006. I completed my graduate degrees (both Master of Science and PhD) in mathematics at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C.


What are your research interests?

My research crosses several realms of algebra and Lie theory. I work on very abstract classifications of algebraic groups in a field born out of quantum mechanics. I also do some research in math education. However, I am always interested in cool questions. I have worked on projects in number theory, applied mathematics, art classification and computational mathematics.

What attracted you to Fitchburg State?

My family (mother, father, and sister) all graduated from Framingham State. I was familiar with the Massachusetts state system. I wanted to be at a school where teaching was the most important part; however, I'd still have opportunities and support to continue research: both in mathematics and math ed. Fitchburg fit those pieces.

What have been your impressions of the campus community in your time so far?

So far so good. It has been a transition from my previous position at Bates College; however, for many reasons it has been much better. I've enjoyed the varying personalities, likes, passions, clothing, and backgrounds that the students at Fitchburg bring to campus every day.

What is your approach to teaching, and what do you think makes an effective undergraduate professor?

I think my approach is always changing. I like to learn and experiment with innovation in teaching; however, I always want to assess the needs of my students. I want my students to feel both supported and challenged. I believe an effective undergraduate professor can inspire hard work and dedication in the students and cause the students to question and see math and the world a little differently.

Anything else you would like the campus community to know about you?

As an undergraduate, I spent several years traveling to under-performing school districts in Massachusetts to work with elementary school teachers. Since then, I have always had an eye to supporting these teachers and the work they do.

Also, I was once a professional dancer! I managed to dance through school, college, and graduate school. I've met some great students who are theater nerds and dance enthusiasts.

Topics: Faculty, Meet the Faculty