Every year, the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM) recognizes the significant contributions made by one of its members through the Dean Prebble Memorial Award. The award is named in honor of Dean Prebble who made significant contributions to the council before passing away from cancer in the fall of 1998. This year the award was given to Hilary Risser at the annual general meeting and luncheon held at the Montana Federation of Professional Employees (MFPE) Educators’ Conference in Helena, MT on October 20, 2022.
Hilary Risser joined the faculty at Montana Technological University in 2008. As a member of the department, she regularly teaches a wide variety of mathematics courses ranging from Calculus to Modern Geometry to History of Mathematics to Numerical Computing for Engineering and Science. She is the only faculty member at Montana Tech with a research interest in mathematics education, making her an essential member of a department that educates many of Montana’s future mathematics teachers. Her research interests include the use of technology in the teaching of mathematics, teacher online social networks, mentoring, and the use of technology in professional development. She has a strong record of collaboration, working with over 20 different mathematics education researchers from around the world. Her work is published in many research outlets including well-known journals, book chapters, and compendiums. She shares the results of her work publically in presentations and talks given around the state of Montana as well as at national and international conferences. She currently serves as the chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Montana Tech.
Shortly after joining the faculty at Montana Tech, Hilary joined MCTM. In 2012, Hilary won the election to the board of directors. In 2016 she was elected President of the council. During her tenure as a board member and president, she made significant contributions. She organized new Professional Development Academies (PDAs) that introduced the Common Core Mathematical Practices to teachers across the state over several years. She was instrumental in starting the Montana Math Meet (MCubed) which is now held every summer in Butte on the Montana Tech campus. Hilary’s leadership also brought the council into the 21st Century (maybe a little late) by instituting the use of digital communication tools and cloud-based file repositories. She replaced the bi-annual newsletter with the MCTM Blog, enabling timelier communication. Her efforts supporting the work of the council continues. She serves as the MCTM Regional Math Contest director for Butte and she serves on the MCubed committee.
Hilary’s record makes it clear that she has made strong contributions to the teaching-and-learning of mathematics in Montana. Further, she has a strong record as an active and influential member of the Montana Council of Teachers of Mathematics. We are happy to award her the highest honor of our council, the Dean Prebble Award; we can think of no one more deserving of this honor.