Q&A with associate professor of mathematics Kyle Calderhead


Kyle Calderhead has been an associate professor of mathematics for seven years. He was recently awarded the 2014 Distinguished Faculty Award for teaching. He has also been featured in Scientific American for integrating math with his hobby of crocheting. Read more to learn about his unique hobby and how math adds into the equation.

Aviso: Where did you grow up?

Calderhead: I went to Salem for high school. Not that far from here.

Aviso: Where did you go to college?

Professor Calderhead sits with some of his crocheted masterpieces. (Photo by Autumn Berry)

Calderhead: University of Pittsburgh. I went to the University of Minnesota for grad school.

Aviso: What brought you to Malone?

Calderhead: I was primarily looking for a school that was close to family. I grew up in eastern Ohio; my wife is from western Pennsylvania; we were in Illinois before. This worked out a lot better. I wanted a smaller school, and when I came here, it was a good fit.

Aviso: What’s your favorite part about teaching at Malone?

Calderhead: The community. We have good students.  A lot of great colleagues. It makes a huge difference.

Aviso: What got you interested in math?

Calderhead: I’ve always kind of liked it. It’s hard to think back before I liked math and science things.

Aviso: What’s your favorite part about math?

Calderhead: My background is in a field called combinatorics, which is closest to our discrete math course. The stuff that we do in discrete math is probably the closest to the things that get me most excited.

Aviso: I heard you are a fan of crocheting. Can you elaborate on why you like to crochet?

Calderhead: I picked it up in graduate school to keep my sanity. I just really liked it. I seemed to have a knack for it. I just kept doing more and more, and eventually, I started bringing the math side of me to it.

Aviso: How does math apply to crocheting?

Calderhead: Sometimes it’s just taking some math imagery and thinking how to turn this into crochet form. If I want to have a certain shape, that’s really a geometry question.

Aviso: Anything in particular you crochet?

Calderhead: I’ve done a couple blankets that are [in the math and computer science department]. I’ve made doughnut shapes. I tried a couple sweaters and stuff for my kids. Whatever seems interesting at the time.

Aviso: How many kids do you have?

Calderhead: Four. They are 11, nine, six and four. The older two are boys and the younger two are girls.

Aviso: Any other hobbies besides crocheting?

Calderhead: I try to do a decent amount of cycling in the summer. That’s probably my second biggest hobby.

Aviso: Any trails in particular in this area?

Calderhead: I do more road biking. There’s a group of guys from my church who, once the weather is nice, they’ll do a group ride.

Casey Stevens is a staff writer for The Aviso AVW.

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