Veena Nair in 2022 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science
Veena Nair thought it was a rip-off name when the Minister for Business and Science Ed Husic rang her just lately.
“Ultimately when I did call him back, I did so thinking he was following up on something I wrote on LinkedIn, where I’m very active,” she laughed.
When he instructed her she was on this 12 months’s Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, all she might muster was, “Are you sure?”
Veena Nair, Head of Know-how at Melbourne’s Viewbank School, has received the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Instructing in Secondary Faculties.
As a physics graduate who certified in electronics, Veena has been educating science topics for greater than 20 years in India, UAE and Australia.
“Currently I teach VCE Systems Engineering to Years 11 and 12, and also prepare students who may be interested in this subject from Year 9 onwards,” Veena instructed Indian Hyperlink.
Methods Engineering is a topic possibility that prepares college students for careers in engineering, manufacturing and design. It integrates features of designing, planning, producing, testing and evaluating in a challenge administration course of.
Instructing science on the secondary degree in Australia should be difficult, we put to her, given the outlook for science literacy has been described as ‘bleak’.
“Yes I have encountered the perception that science is difficult,” Veena noticed. “I tackle this in many different ways. For starters, I’m constantly giving the students opportunities to experience science and engineering first-hand. I love to expose them to what engineering looks like – that it’s not hard, that it can be interesting, and that they can do it.”
She does this notably effectively – her college students inform her she ought to have been in gross sales and advertising.
The gender divide is one other difficulty that bothers Veena. “My classes are currently at a 70-30 divide in favour of males; my goal is to raise it to 50-50. I work to get the fear out of the female students. Give it a shot, I tell them.”
3D printing, a vital side of her early course, has been an effective way of initiating the ladies into science. “Every industry uses it, I tell them; try it, it’s a skill you can use whatever workplace you find yourself in. I make science less threatening, and more enjoyable.”
She counts as a profession spotlight a shy and retiring 12 months 9 scholar, who was so science-phobic she wouldn’t work on a laptop computer. “She blossomed as she continued in my classes through to Year 12, finished as one of the top students in the state, and took engineering at university.”
One other program Veena is keen about in her work is Superstars of STEM, a nationwide platform through which choose science personalities educated as ‘ambassadors’ usually current to the media, on stage and in colleges. “Representation matters, and we have some wonderful role models from our own community – Madhu Bhaskaran, Onisha Patel, Veena Sahajwalla. They are great inspirers towards science, for our girls especially.”
She added, “An epidemiologist presentation I organised during lockdown for example turned out wonderfully; parents joined in too as the expert provided evidence-based information and knowledge about COVID and vaccination. We need more such conversations in intimate settings so questions can be asked freely.”
Equally, Veena Nair believes, lecturers should be proactive to encourage the take up of science. “We’ve got to connect with new technology. As teachers we must move away from old methods of teaching and incorporate new advancements. Students are already tech savvy, and if you don’t provide the new platforms, they won’t engage. Bridge that gap between curriculum and pedagogy.”
Is there a realisation on the faculty degree that we’d like extra scientists on this nation?
“There is in my school, and I push it a lot. I’m passionate about greater engagement from industry and tertiary education. In 2017 I wrote to universities to provide extra ATAR points for Systems Engineering students – I was able to pull it off. In recognition of this I was given the Educator of the Year Award in 2018 presented by the Design and Technology Teachers’ Association of Australia.”
At present 90% of Methods Engineering college students go on to engineering at college.
Veena additionally makes essentially the most of different obtainable applications to carry science nearer to her college students. One such is the Younger Individuals’ Plan for the Planet (YPPP), an extra-curricular and interdisciplinary topic at college primarily based on the UN’s Sustainable Growth Targets, to ship native, regional and globally sustainable outcomes. “Australian and Indian students collaborated successfully on a YPPP project recently,” Veena associated.
“In the Swinburne Youth Space Challenge, students get the opportunity to work with space scientists in a 10-week program, competing to develop an experiment to launch into space. The winning project is sent to the International Space Station with the help of industry partners.”
At STEAM Membership, the place the A stands for Artwork, Veena leads built-in artwork and know-how tasks like wearables.
These revolutionary initiatives apart, Veena Nair’s infectious enthusiasm for all issues science should be rubbing off on her wards at college – it actually makes us wish to return to highschool science.
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