Laurier mathematics professor receives national research award

Waterloo – Donna Kotsopoulos, a professor in Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Education and Department of Mathematics, was awarded the 2016 Partners in Research (PIR) Mathematics Ambassador Award. This national award celebrates outstanding leaders who promote their research through outreach activities and recognizes the impact of this research on the lives of Canadians.

“I’m honoured to receive this award,” said Kotsopoulos. “This is an amazing opportunity to further engage academics, graduate students and the public in discussions about mathematics education. I am grateful to Laurier and the many collaborators, community partners and families who have supported my work.”

Kotsopoulos is known for her commitment to sharing her research with the wider community, including students, teachers, caregivers and parents.

In a nomination letter, Kotsopoulos was recognized for being an ambassador to mathematics education and for her dedication to the field.

Kotsopoulos’ research has shown that the basis for fluent numeracy begins even before children enter school. This research led to a transformative outreach program called LittleCounters, co-developed with Laurier developmental psychology Professor Joanne Lee.

By developing public awareness of techniques to teach mathematics to young children, LittleCounters enables more children to have a stronger mathematical start at the beginning of formal schooling. In 2014, the Let's Talk About Math: The LittleCounters Approach to Building Early Math Skills book was released to extend the reach of the program.

“Formal mathematics education can shape a successful future and set the stage for contributions to Canadian society,” said Robert Gordon, vice-president: research. “Dr. Kotsopoulos’ outreach work is an outstanding example of how mathematics research can benefit the Canadian public.”

Kotsopoulos was previously awarded a Laurier Hoffmann-Little Award for Faculty Excellence and an Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations teaching award.

The award will be presented May 3 in Ottawa.

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