Mary Anne Prater
Alumna, M.S. Special Education
Mary Anne Prater grew up in Salt Lake City with strong ties to the University of Utah. Both of her older siblings graduated from and her mother taught at the U for many years. She recalls spending summer days on campus attending youth activity classes while her mother worked in her office, being taught about football by her father while attending U games, and watching her mother receive her masters degree diploma from the wooden seats in the old football stadium.
Mary Anne earned her Bachelor of Music (music education) and Master of Science (special education) from the U. After teaching several years in Jordan School District, she returned to school, first to Arizona State University and then Utah State University. She earned her Ph.D. in special education from USU in 1987 and began teaching at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale where she adored the fall weather with the beautiful changing colored leaves. She left SIU for an even greater climate, the Hawaiian Islands. She worked at the University of Hawaii at Manoa for 11 years where she progressed to a full professor serving for four years as the Department Chair for Special Education and two years as an Associate Dean in Education. Although it was difficult to leave the people and the climate of the islands, coming back to her roots led her to return to Utah. She joined the BYU faculty in 2001 and two years later became the Chair of the Department of Counseling Psychology and Special Education.
Throughout the years in higher education, Dr. Prater has been a productive researcher and writer. Her research interests include effective teaching strategies for students with mild to moderate disabilities, multicultural special education, special educator teacher preparation, and disabilities as portrayed in children and young adult literature. Her recent publications include the following books, Teaching Strategies for Students with Mild to Moderate Disabilities, What Every Teacher Should Know about Making Accommodations and Adaptations for Students with Mild Moderate Disabilities and Teaching about Disabilities through Children's Literature. In all, she has authored or co-authored over 60 refereed articles, 15 book chapters, and six books. She has also been a frequent presenter at national and international education conferences. She has won awards for her research and her work in teacher education.
At each of the universities in which she has been employed, Dr. Prater has been successful at acquiring federal grants, particularly from the U.S. Department of Education. Most recently, she and her colleagues were awarded an $800,000 grant from the U.S Department of Education to provide tuition support for BYU students completing the special education and English as a second language programs. Dr. Prater has also been active in national professional organizations. She recently served for four years on the Executive Board of the Council for Exceptional Children's Teacher Education Division.
In addition to her work, Dr. Prater enjoys traveling, visiting curio and museum gift shops, reading children's literature, stitching needlework, and discovering new and interesting places.