Baylor Mathematics Education Professor Honored for Outstanding Achievements, Leadership in Field

Trena Wilkerson, Ph.D., receives national 2024 Louise Hay Award from the Association for Women in Mathematics

January 16, 2024
Trena Wilderson, Ph.D.

Trena Wilkerson, Ph.D., professor and interim chair of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction in the Baylor University School of Education. (Baylor University)

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WACO, Texas (Jan. 16, 2024) – Trena Wilkerson, Ph.D., professor and interim chair of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction in the Baylor University School of Education, has received the 2024 Louise Hay Award from the Association for Women in Mathematics in recognition of her leadership in mathematics education, transformational teaching and mentorship, and her global initiatives and programs. She was presented the award Jan. 3 during the organization’s national conference.

Wilkerson was nominated by her Baylor C&I colleagues Ryann Shelton, Ph.D., and Sandi Cooper, Ph.D., and also by National Council of Teachers of Mathematics executive director, Ken Kreibel.

The Louise Hay Award for Contributions to Mathematics Education recognizes outstanding achievements in any area of mathematics education. The Association says the annual award is intended to highlight the importance of mathematics education and to evoke the memory of all that Hay exemplified as a teacher, scholar, administrator and human being. Wilkerson said it is humbling to receive recognition from the Association for Women in Mathematics.

“AWM’s focus on a community where women and girls can ‘thrive in their mathematical endeavors’ — as noted on their website — is a powerful connection to the work in supporting equitable opportunities for all, but in particular ‘marginalized genders and identities across the mathematical sciences,’” she said.

National and international leadership

A notable highlight of Wilkerson’s leadership is her service as president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) from 2020-2022 and on its board of directors. Elected by NCTM’s more than 30,000 members, Wilkerson helmed the organization during its centennial celebration and also during the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset and the challenges it brought for K-12 educators.

“As 2020-2022 NCTM president, I had the privilege of serving alongside and working with so many outstanding mathematics educators and organizations to advocate for mathematics for each and every student during a challenging time in our history,” Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson’s research interests include mathematics education, teacher education, algebra teacher efficacy, teaching and learning of mathematics and professional development. She has a passion for effective mathematics teaching for student education. 

She has conducted research in early childhood understanding of rational number concepts, worked with a cross-university collaborative to develop an instrument measuring algebra teacher efficacy and studied the effect of professional development on mathematics teachers and their students through Lesson Study.

Wilkerson has broadened her reach through international programs by traveling to China and speaking at the Asian Centre of Mathematics Education Symposium, completing research in Costa Rica, Australia and Thailand in math education and teaching math education and professional development in Costa Rica. She also has completed virtual symposia presenting her research to teachers in Sydney, Australia; New Delhi, India; and Indonesia.

Mentoring students

Relationships also are very important to Wilkerson, shown by her mentorship to students. She engages her graduate students in research and supports them in collaborating in presenting and publishing and continues that mentorship after they graduate and as colleagues to continue to research together. Wilkerson also encourages her students to get involved in leadership in professional organizations, “and now they are leaders both statewide and nationally.” In fact, Shelton – one of Wilkerson’s nominators for the award – is a previous mentee.

“It was such an honor to be nominated by my colleague Ryann, who was my doctoral student as well,” Wilkerson said. “And then Dr. Cooper, who is a longtime colleague in mathematics education. I’m so humbled by this. They, along with many other students and colleagues, are a part of this work and honor. I would not be doing what I do without them.”


For more than 100 years, the School of Education has advanced Baylor’s mission across the globe while preparing students for a range of careers focused on education, leadership, and human development. With more than 60 full-time faculty members, the school’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation. Likewise, the School of Education’s graduate programs have attained national recognition for their exemplary preparation of research scholars, educational leaders, innovators, and clinicians. Visit the School of Education website to learn more.


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