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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Lamb Named 2019-20 Recipient of Alumni Faculty Award

Alumni Award recipient Dr. Lisa Lamb


Upon opening the notification e-mail, Lisa Lamb was sure someone, somewhere, had made a mistake. She even went back and re-read the message, just to be sure. But there’s no mistaking it: Lamb, Qualcomm Endowed Professor of Mathematics Education, has been named the College of Education’s 2019-2020 recipient of the Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Faculty Contributions to the University.

“I was totally blown away,” said Lamb, who was blissfully unaware that three faculty colleagues at the School of Teacher Education (STE) and Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education (CRMSE) had nominated her for the award. “The fact that someone was willing to take the time to write that nomination letter — I just think that’s really beautiful.”

In more than two decades of preparing math educators, Lamb has built a sterling reputation as a teacher, mentor, researcher and leader. Lamb has co-led the Master’s in Mathematics Education program for the past 19 years, helped write the specific concentration for K-8 math education and co-founded the Aztec Science Camp, which engages undergraduate students in STEM and teaching.
I just feel really lucky to be here — like this is my home. I feel very invested in San Diego State and, by extension, the teachers who come in and out of the credential program and the master’s program.

Fascinated by how children think and learn, her nationally-recognized research has focused on K-12 students' conceptions of integers and integer arithmetic. She was also principal investigator on the National Science Foundation (NSF) Noyce Mathematics and Science Master Teaching Fellowship Program grant, which funded 32 mathematics and science guide teachers in high needs districts.

“When I think of the things I’m most proud of, it’s about creating programs that support teachers around their teaching and learning of mathematics,” Lamb said.

Talk to Lamb, and how much she cares for SDSU bubbles to the surface. After all, the university and the center have been a central part of her adult life.

A native of Northern Virginia, Lamb moved to San Diego in 1990 on a whim, hoping to land a teaching job. She taught math and coached tennis and track at University City High and later La Jolla High.

Lamb first came to SDSU to pursue a master’s in mathematics education and went on to become the first graduate of SDSU’s Mathematics and Science Education Joint Doctoral Program. In the process, she thrived under the mentorship of renowned SDSU mathematics education researchers such as Drs. Judith and Larry Sowder and Drs. Alba and Patrick Thompson. Lamb was hired on to the faculty in 1998 — a stroke of good fortune she says she still can’t believe.

“I just feel really lucky to be here — like this is my home,” Lamb said. “I feel very invested in San Diego State and, by extension, the teachers who come in and out of the credential program and the master’s program. The single biggest thing I’m proud of is being able to support teachers in the region.”