MurphyKate Montee named 2013-14 Churchill Scholar

Author: Stephanie Healey

MurphyKate Montee MurphyKate Montee

The Winston Churchill Foundation of the United States has selected University of Notre Dame senior MurphyKate Montee as a Churchill Scholar for the 2013-14 academic year. She will use the scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom for her master of advanced studies (part III) in theoretical mathematics with a focus on geometry and topology.

Montee, a mathematics and music (voice) double major in the Glynn Family Honors Program, is one of just 14 students in the United States selected for the scholarship this year. She is only the second student from Notre Dame to receive this prestigious award. Andrew Manion, who was also a double major in mathematics and music, won in 2009.

The Churchill Scholarship will cover the majority of Montee’s expenses at Cambridge, including tuition and fees, a living allowance, and transportation to and from the United Kingdom.

Montee has participated in two Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs during her summers, which included studying polynomials of recursive ribbon graphs at Louisiana State University and studying knot theory at Williams College. She is also a member of the Seminar for Undergraduate Mathematical Research (SUMR), a program designed for the most talented mathematics students at Notre Dame. She is currently completing an honors thesis, titled “On the Construction of Chern Classes of Complex Vector Bundles.”

As a talented and accomplished student, Montee has received several awards and scholarships including the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship, the Notre Dame Provost’s Scholarship, the Notre Dame Reilly Trustee Scholarship and the Bordui Foundation Scholarship. She was also the winner of the 2012 Alice T. Schafer Mathematics Prize, which is awarded to the top female undergraduate mathematician in the United States. She was the first Notre Dame student to win this prize.

In addition to excelling in mathematics, Montee also has a passion for music. She sang the lead mezzo-soprano role in Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” at Notre Dame this year and will be the lead soprano in this year’s production of Poulenc’s “Dialogues des Carmelites.”

After completing her year at Cambridge, Montee plans to pursue doctoral studies in mathematics at a university in the United States.

Montee’s Churchill Scholarship was made possible in part through her participation in Notre Dame’s Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE). CUSE provides undergraduate students in all the University’s colleges opportunities for research, scholarship, and creative projects. The center also assists them in finding faculty mentors, funding and venues for the publication or presentation of their work, and promotes applications to national Fellowship programs and prepares them in their application process.

More information on CUSE is available online at

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