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Australia’s first STEM teacher honoured by foundation

By Craig Hingston

Adelaide school teacher Stephen Read has become the first Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics educator in Australia to be made an Honorary Fellow of the Re-Engineering Australia Foundation.

Stephen Read (Hon. FREAust) received his historic post nominals from REA Foundation founder, Dr Michael Myers OAM, at a special ceremony at his school, Brighton Secondary School.

He has been at the forefront of STEM teaching in Australia over the past decade, encouraging boys and girls of all ages to get involved.

He introduced his school to the world’s biggest STEM competition, the F1inSchools Technology Challenge (operated by REA), and his students have set the benchmark. Since 2011 his school has qualified for the F1inSchools National Finals every year and gone on to the World Finals in 2012, 2013 and 2015!

In 2012 his school were World Champions defeating more than 40 other nations. They have an opportunity to repeat that feat in October this year in Texas.

“To reach the world finals three times in four years is a fantastic achievement and a great reflection of the dedication and endeavor of the Brighton Secondary School students,’’ he said, “The support we have received from REA Foundation and the Brighton Secondary School community has been phenomenal over the past several years.

“When I was awarded the John Button Memorial Award by Dr Myers in 2013 it was such a special honour and now to be named an Honorary Fellow, the first Honorary Fellow, of REA is quite humbling to be thought of in such high regard.”

Added Dr Myers, “We are keen to provide recognition for teachers in a way that would not only provide acknowledgment for them but also provide a platform for their schools to highlight their efforts in promoting STEM education. From REA’s perspective, while this provides us with an opportunity to thank those who do so much for us, it also creates a set of teacher role models who we can showcase as examples to others and to industry.”

Stephen Read with students from past and current F1inSchools race teams. Jane Burton (extreme left) managed the team which won the World Championships in 2013. Nicole Kascak (right) has that responsibility at the 2016 F1inSchools World Finals in Texas

Stephen Read with students from past and current F1inSchools race teams. Jane Burton (extreme left) managed the team which won the World Championships in 2013. Nicole Kascak (right) has that responsibility at the 2016 F1inSchools World Finals in Texas

REA Background

Re-Engineering Australia Foundation is a not-for-profit STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education organisation established by engineer Dr Michael Myers OAM in 1988. Dr Myers is passionate about equipping the younger generation with world-best technology and inspiring and empowering them to consider technical career paths.

“It is amazing how young people respond to technology. They are passionate about it and are so keen to learn. In our programs we give them access to industry-standard software and manufacturing equipment and present them with complex projects – such as designing and making a radio controlled submarine or an 80 kilometre per hour futuristic F1 racer – and they rise to the challenge. They master technology in the classroom that adult engineers use in aerospace and the car industry. Their catch cry is ‘Because no one told us we couldn’t do it!’ It’s wonderful to see and the teachers love it.”

“The reason why our STEM programs appeal to girls is because a number of years ago, in conjunction with the University of South Australia, I conducted extensive nationwide research into the mental, emotional and behavioural patterns of students of both genders. I analysed how they like to learn and how they select their career paths. These findings became building blocks for our competitions.”

1 comment

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  1. Kyran

    Your first report, back in February, started a reflection on my working life, using a different filter. The post;
    https://theaimn.com/australias-largest-stem-event-about-diversity-and-girl-power/
    led me to an ABC article;
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-02/girls-battle-in-f1-in-schools-technology-challenge/7213502
    The face book link in the ABC article, at the time, was inspiring (well, for me, anyway). It was a collegiate, yet competitive, environment. It reminded me of the environments that I have worked in. In my experience (which renders this nothing other than anecdotal), ‘all male’ work places have been combative and/or adversarial. The ‘mixed’ work places have been more ‘collegiate’ and produced much better outcomes.
    Congratulations, Mr Read. Thank you Dr Myers.
    Your last two paragraph’s are fantastic.
    “Their catch cry is ‘Because no one told us we couldn’t do it!’ It’s wonderful to see and the teachers love it.”
    I use ‘fantastic’ as “extraordinarily good or attractive”, not as “imaginative or fanciful; remote from reality”.
    When I grow up, I want to be like our kids. Thank you, Mr Hingston. Take care

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