10 Things to Know About Kathleen Currul-Dykeman
The director of the Martin Institute sheds light on her time as a prosecutor, the power of networking and more.
Prior to joining Stonehill College’s faculty in 2007, Professor Kathleen Currul-Dykeman was a full-time lawyer. She served as an assistant district attorney for Suffolk County Superior Court, the Domestic Violence Court in Dorchester, and Worcester District Court.
“I specialized in domestic violence cases,” she said. “A lot of lawyers don’t want to handle them because they can be complicated, but I felt passionate about working with people in need.”
Since being named director of Stonehill’s Joseph W. Martin Institute for Law & Society in 2017, Currul-Dykeman has continued to recognize the value of serving others. As she develops programming to help enhance the educational experiences of students interested in public policy throughout the 2023-2024 academic year and beyond, here are 10 things to know about her.
1. She selects our speakers. Choosing guest lecturers who can help students bridge the theory and practice of active citizenship is one of Currul-Dykeman’s responsibilities as the director of the Martin Institute. “I try to develop our events in collaboration with other faculty,” she said. “I want to ensure that the speakers have a nexus to some class on campus. I also want to make sure the programs touch upon social justice issues.”
2. She depends on her network. Many of the speakers that Currul-Dykeman has welcomed to the Martin Institute include her former colleagues. “I find the people who work in the courts in Massachusetts to be inspirational because they’re always willing to give of themselves,” she said. “They’re always trying to make a difference.”
3. She learns from others. Thinking back on all the lecturers she has hosted over the years, Currul-Dykeman notes that many stand out to her for different reasons. “I thought Justice Serge Georges, who came during the spring 2023 semester, was really inspirational,” she said. “He grew up locally. He’s giving back to the community. He wants to do good on the bench, but also likes going into the community to talk to young people. His visit to Stonehill really stayed with me.”
4. She helps students connect with others. Currul-Dykeman encourages students to attend Martin Institute events, as they offer excellent networking opportunities. “Many internships have been born out of interactions with our speakers,” she said.
5. She builds mentorships. In addition to leading the Martin Institute, Currul-Dykeman is chair of the Department of Criminology. In this role, she recently established a new peer mentor program where first-year students are matched with upperclassmen, whose advice is meant to complement the faculty advising experience. “I think it will really help new students pick classes, choose extracurricular activities and pursue internship opportunities,” the professor said.
6. She supports student scholarship. Currul-Dykeman is the advisor for PRINTS, an undergraduate academic journal that promotes the research of anthropology, criminology, political science and sociology majors. “Getting published as an undergraduate student looks great on graduate school applications,” she notes. “And becoming acquainted with the peer review process early on will serve them well as they pursue other scholarship in the future.”
7. She shoots for the Stars. For the past 13 years, Currul-Dykeman and her family have managed the Sharon Stars, an inclusive sports program for individuals with disabilities that they established. Members of the Stonehill men’s basketball team travel to Sharon alongside Coach Chris Kraus to help run the program every week. “Our kids think the players from Stonehill are superstars,” Currul-Dykeman said. “Even when the Skyhawks are busy traveling to their own games, Coach Kraus always makes sure they’re there on Sunday to play basketball with the Stars.”
8. Her kids feel at home here. Currul-Dykeman’s family is not only connected to Stonehill through the Sharon Stars program. They have also visited her on campus quite a bit. “When my kids were really little and had snow days, I’d bring them to my office for the day,” she said. “In some ways, this place is like a second home to them.”
9. She rows, rows, rows her boat. In her free time, Currul-Dykeman enjoys kayaking. “I live near a lake and try to get out there as much as I can,” she said. The legal scholar displays her love of the activity via a large photo of a boat hanging above her desk.
10. She is a Leslie Knope. Currul-Dykeman keeps a figurine of the main character from Parks & Recreation in her office. “She’s fictional, but she inspires me,” she said. “I look to women like her who follow their dreams. I’m also inspired by real-life people like our faculty, as well as others who have worked their entire careers to improve the lives of others and give back to their community.”