Susan Milner is Awarded the PIMS 2014 Education Prize

PIMS is delighted to announce that Susan Milner, a faculty member in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics of the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), has been selected as the winner of the 2014 PIMS Education Prize. This prize, awarded annually by PIMS, recognizes individuals in Western Canada and Washington State who have played a major role in encouraging activities which have enhanced public awareness and appreciation of mathematics, as well as fostering communication among various groups concerned with mathematical education at all levels.

Susan Milner has been teaching a variety of mathematics courses at UFV (a PIMS Educational Associate university), touching the lives of many students in British Columbia (BC). However, her interests range far beyond teaching; they reach into curriculum design on the one hand, and into making mathematics more accessible and exciting to a wide audience on the other. These interests have led her to many achievements which have had a significant impact on math educators in BC and beyond, as well as on many students and their parents.

Susan’s interest in mathematics curriculum in BC colleges and universities led her to become an active member of the BC Committee on Undergraduate Programs in Mathematics and Statistics, where she served as Chair of the Committee for six years (2002–2008). Her interest and expertise in popularizing mathematics led her to bring PIMS Math Mania to schools in the Fraser Valley. Since 2007 she (often accompanied by her team of UFV colleagues and student volunteers) has visited scores of schools – 39 in 2012/2013. These visits have inspired some of the schools to organize their own Math Mania events. UFV has recognized Susan’s outreach work by awarding her the 2013 Dean of Science Awesome Achievement Award in the Outstanding Outreach category.

But Susan did not simply “transplant” Math Mania to the Fraser Valley. She has enhanced and enriched it by adding many of her own favourite activities, including origami and puzzles. Using puzzles to teach mathematics and to attract people to mathematics has been one of Susan’s passions. She writes about her “love affair” with mathematical puzzles, with comments on how can one use puzzles in a classroom, in the article Puzzles in my Life, which appeared in the CMS Notes October 2013 issue (see Susan has also given workshops at Science World and several workshops for teachers from various schools and school districts.

Alejandro Adem, PIMS Director, remarked, "Susan Milner is an outstanding educator, who has worked tirelessly to share the joy of mathematics with countless students and teachers in BC. This prize recognizes her wonderful achievements and selfless dedication to mathematics.”

The 2014 PIMS Education Prize is sponsored by Hampson-Russell/CGG and will be awarded at the annual Changing the Culture Conference organized by PIMS in Vancouver, on Friday,
May 16, 2014.