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MEDIA RELEASE — August 10, 2012

Canadian Mathematical Society

MEDIA RELEASE
August 10, 2012

EXCEPTIONAL MATHEMATICS EDUCATOR RECOGNIZED

Melania Alvarez to Receive CMS 2012 Adrien Pouliot Award

OTTAWA, Ontario — The Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS) is pleased to announce Melania Alvarez of the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS), as the recipient of the 2012 Adrien Pouliot Award in recognition of her contributions to mathematics education in Canada. The award will be presented at the 2012 CMS Winter Meeting in Montreal.

The Adrien Pouliot Award was inaugurated in 1995 to recognize individuals who have made significant and sustained contributions to mathematics education in Canada. The award is named for Adrien Pouliot, the second CMS President, who taught mathematics at Université Laval for 50 years and was instrumental in developing Laval’s engineering and science faculty.

“Melania Alvarez has been dedicated to mathematics education in Canada for nearly a decade,” said Peter Taylor, Chair of the CMS Selection Committee for the Adrien Pouliot Award. “While she has made many notable contributions in the area of education, she is most recognized for her work with First Nations students.”

“Melania’s efforts to improve the mathematical education of First Nations students and reduce their drop-out rate are a proof that one person can initiate a big change,” said Malgorzata Dubiel (SFU), winner of the 2011 Adrien Pouliot Award. “Her work with First Nations schools, workshops for their teachers, and her summer camps for first nations students are already showing impact on whole communities.”

Although much of her focus is on working with First Nations students, Alvarez also plays an active role in promoting mathematics amongst the general population. Each year, she helps organize the Elementary Mathematics Contest (ELMACON); five to six sessions of Math Mania, problem solving workshops for students at elementary and secondary schools, math workshops for elementary and secondary school teachers, and engages in active fund-raising to support a wide range of education activities.

“She is not limited to the high roles. She likes meeting people and she draws them into her initiatives. She likes looking for new problems and games to fascinate her students. Melania spends many afternoons each week working with students in Math Homework Clubs,” said Leah Edelstein-Keshet (UBC) when nominating Alvarez for the award.

Alvarez obtained her Bachelor’s degree in actuarial science from the National University of Mexico, she holds an MS in Operations Research from Stanford University and an MS in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked in the private sector as a risk analyst and as a research associate in the Quantitative Assessment Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently she is preparing a dissertation for a PhD in mathematics education at Simon Fraser University. At present, Alvarez holds a position as the B.C. Education Coordinator at the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS), and Outreach Coordinator for the Mathematics Department at UBC. She continues to be actively involved in mathematics education as a member of the Subcommittee on Mathematics for Elementary Teachers.

For more information, please contact:

Peter Taylor
Education Committee
Canadian Mathematical Society
613-533-2434
RMorewood@oLc.ubc.ca
or Jessica St-James
Communications and Special Projects Officer
Canadian Mathematical Society
(613) 722-2662 ext. 728
commsp@cms.math.ca

About the Canadian Mathematical Society (CMS)

The CMS is the national mathematics organization whose goal is to promote the advancement, discovery, learning, and application of mathematics. The Society's activities cover the whole spectrum of mathematics including: scientific meetings, research publications, and the promotion of excellence in mathematics education at all levels. The CMS annually sponsors mathematics awards and prizes that recognize outstanding achievements.


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