The Alumni Achievement Award is a University award that recognizes alumni 35 years of age or younger for outstanding accomplishments in their field. The alumni are nominated by their academic college and asked to return to campus to share their expertise.
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2007 Alumni Achievement Award Winner
The quality of mathematics education in the United States has received a great deal of political and media attention in recent months. College of Education alumnus and 2007 Alumni Achievement Award Winner Patrick Vennebush is a key player in the national effort to improve the situation.
Vennebush ’94 SEC ED is the online projects manager for the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Additionally, he is a part-time graduate student at the University of Maryland where he is studying Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Mathematics Education.
With his team of over 20 lesson plan writers and technology staff, Vennebush develops mathematics content for Illuminations (illuminations.nctm.org), a professional development website that provides over 500 lesson plans for teachers in grades K-12.
“By selecting Patrick Vennebush for the Alumni Achievement Award we acknowledge his efforts to increase interest and sustain momentum in the field of mathematics education,” said Dr. Glen Blume, professor of education. “Vennebush has made significant advancements in the field of mathematics education early in his career, and he can serve as a role model for our current students considering mathematics education.”
Vennebush began teaching at Mercer Area High School in 1994. He taught seventh and eighth grade students in addition to coordinating computer activities for the district’s elementary schools. Vennebush later became the curriculum coordinator for MATHCOUNTS, a national coaching and competition program that improves students’ mathematics abilities.
In addition to co-authoring the book, The All Time Greatest Problems, Vennebush has published 13 articles. He also received the 1997 Outstanding New Graduate Award, given by the Penn State College of Education Alumni Society Board, and the Earle F. Myers Student Teacher of the Year award from the Math Council of Western Pennsylvania in 1994.
“I have been extremely fortunate,” said Vennebush. “The faculty in the College of Education, especially Kathy Heid and Glen Blume in the math education department, prepared me with the skills to succeed and instilled in me a passion for mathematics and education. As a result, I am now able to do what I love—develop materials and online tools for math teachers to use in their classrooms. Receiving this award is a great honor, and I recognize that it is the result of the high-quality education I received at Penn State.”