Louise Hay Award

1994 Winner: Major Kaye A. de Ruiz


Major Kaye A. de Ruiz of the United States Air Force Academy is the fourth recipient of the Louise Hay Award for Outstanding Contributions to Mathematics Education. She received a Master of Science in College Administration with a minor in statistics from Oregon State University and then attended Officer Training School for the United States Air Force. In 1990, she took time off from teaching and received her Ph.D. in applied statistics at the University of California, Riverside. De Ruiz is a skilled teacher, a respected researcher, a very capable administrator, and a wonderful role model.

De Ruiz has enjoyed a career filled with wide-ranging contributions to the mathematical education of extraordinarily diverse populations of students. She began her teaching career at Roseburg High School in Roseburg, Oregon, where she developed and implemented a team-teaching approach to geometry and also regularly invited local business professionals to discuss with her business math students the uses of mathematics in their daily work. After spending several years at Misawa Air Force Base in Japan establishing and teaching in adult education programs, de Ruiz, in 1982, began to teach full-time at the Air Force Academy where she acted as the course director for the Academy’s differential calculus course. She developed instructor and cadet notes, based on a newly adopted text book, that both encouraged students to understand the importance of calculus and challenged them to go beyond what was discussed in the classroom. In ensuing years, de Ruiz taught probability and statistics for the Academy; true to her roots, she continued to incorporate “real world” problems in her courses. As chief of the Statistics Division at the Academy, she adopted new texts, revised curricula, wrote a workbook that assisted professors in incorporating technology in their statistics courses, and contributed to a textbook on basic statistics. De Ruiz regularly acts as consultant to other departments and agencies outside the Air Force Academy and has become the department expert on objective-based education and criterion referenced grading. As her department head, Lt. Col. Steven C. Gordon, states, “In all of her endeavors as a teacher, Kaye has explored new methods of teaching so that her students can not only learn, but enjoy mathematics as she does.”

Response from Kaye A. de Ruiz:

Of her selection, de Ruiz said, “This honor was a great surprise since I had never considered myself to be outstanding in the area of math education.… The Lord has provided me with many unique opportunities to teach mathematics both in the United States and abroad and I have been fortunate to have a supportive family wherever my job has taken me.” She continued, “I have always been a teacher at heart, but being a military officer has not always allowed me to pursue this endeavor.… It amazes me that I have been selected since I have certainly not followed a traditional approach in being an educator. Perhaps my selection will encourage others to explore alternative approaches in teaching mathematics and statistics and pursue nontraditional methods to increase their own under standing of mathematics and statistics. I heartily thank the committee for selecting me for this award.”