Kolan teaches introductory mechanics, statistical mechanics, astronomy, and a course on physics and computation. Her research — and much of her teaching — straddles the boundary between mathematics and physics. In her most recent sabbatical, Kolan worked on two projects with Leo Kadanoff at the University of Chicago. The first project incorporates the use of the renormalization group, a mathematical technique used to view a physical system at different scales. The second is a pedagogical project aimed at introducing high school students to the use of computer programming for discovery. In her free time, Kolan enjoys biking, cross-country skiing, and spending time with her husband and two daughters.