In recognition of her exemplary work on behalf of first-year students, the National Resource Center and Cengage Learning has selected Dr. Brigitte Lahme, professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Sonoma State University, to receive a 2018-19 ‘Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate’ Award.
The national award recognizes educators who are doing exceptional work in the areas of student learning, development and success, according to the National Resource Center. Lahme was one of 10 recipients but one of only two chosen from four-year colleges and universities between 7,000 and 15,000 students in size.
Lahme said she was honored just to be considered let alone to receive the award. “It’s all due to having so much support from the department of mathematics and statistics,” said Lahme. “It’s a great collaborative environment with so much positive energy to help students think about math differently.”
A professor at SSU since 2002, Lahme is nationally recognized for her contributions to mathematics education. She has spearheaded a number of initiatives including a complete transformation of Sonoma State’s curriculum for first-year mathematics students and has served as a faculty lead on a multi-year STEM Talent Expansion grant from the National Science Foundation.
In nominating her for the distinction, Lisa Vollendorf, Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs at Sonoma State University, described Lahme as “a dedicated educator and student success advocate” and a “highly respected change-leader for the entire California State University system.”
Vollendorf added, “Throughout her career, Dr. Lahme has made an extraordinary difference in what we know about teaching mathematics, the way K-16 teachers engage all students in meaningful learning about mathematics, how college students of all backgrounds see themselves as part of the future of STEM, and how one faculty leader can inspire and advance the mission of many.”
Lahme said she has a passion for helping first-year students start off on the right foot, especially in math. “It’s not easy, but math is powerful because it opens so many doors for students,” she said. “Even if they decide to not go into mathematics later, empowering students to have the option to follow that route and being math literate is an amazing goal for us. It makes our students lives better, and it makes our society better.”
The award will be presented to Lahme at the 38th Annual Conference on ‘The First-Year Experience’ in Las Vegas from Feb. 16 to Feb. 19, 2019.