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ODU’s Ruth Cookson Earns National Honor for Working to Enhance Economic Education

Ruth Cookson, the interim director of the E.V. Williams Center for Real Estate and an economics instructor in Old Dominion University's Strome College of Business, was recently awarded the Bessie B. Moore Service Award from the National Association of Economic Educators (NAEE) at the organization's annual conference.

The award recognizes "individuals associated with NAEE/Council for Economic Education whose outstanding and dedicated service has had a significant impact on the delivery and enhancement of economic education."

Cookson was cited for her 18 years of service at the Strome College's Center for Economic Education, including three years as director. The center closed in 2020.

The NAEE based the award on the following criteria:

Active role in economic education programming.

Innovative economic education program development.

Enhancement of economic education through program delivery and service.

Dedication and commitment to economic education.

Continuing involvement and length of service in economic education.

Cookson conducted workshops and developed curriculum for K-12 teachers, helping them to better integrate economics and financial literacy into their lessons. She serves on the board of directors of the Council on Economic Education and the NAEE.

"My guiding force - what was always at the forefront of any work I did for the ODU Center for Economic Education - was to help make economics and personal finance fun, active and relevant for today's students," she said in her acceptance speech. "What did that look like? For me, it was quality professional development - providing training and lessons that were classroom ready, relevant, content appropriate - and always accompanied by snacks! During the early days of COVID, I worked hard to provide access and information to my teachers as we pivoted to something that was completely unfamiliar to so many of us in March 2020."

She thanked her predecessor as center Director, Martha Hofler; her department chair, Chris Colburn; and Strome College Dean Jeff Tanner for their support and guidance.

She taught high school social studies in Norfolk for 10 years prior to coming to the center. She earned her M.S. in education from ODU in 1990.

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