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TGNSW STEM Education and Industry Forum 2022

Held 28 September 2022 at the William Inglis Hotel

Guest Speaker Presentations

Heather Catchpole

Heather co-founded STEM-specialist media company Refraction Media in 2013 with a view to creating a smarter future – one in which everyone has access to the skills they need to make a better planet. Heather previously worked for over a decade as an editor, science news journalist and producer at the ABC, Cosmos and CSIRO. Refraction Media have distributed over 2 million magazines to students across the USA, Australia and New Zealand through the Careers with STEM brand. In 2015 the company was awarded as Publish Australia’s best small publisher and was twice shortlisted best startup in the Telstra Business Awards. She is the author of multiple children’s books including Ready Set Code! Coding activities for kids, CSIRO Publishing, 2020 and It’s True! Space Turns you into Spaghetti, shortlisted for the Royal Society Children’s Book prize, 2008. Heather also sits on the Board of Science and Technology Australia, Australia’s peak body representing over 90,000 scientists.


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Dr Scott Sleap

Dr Sleap is the STEM Project Adviser 7-12 for the NSW Department of Education where he is responsible for the coordination of the STEM Industry School Partnerships (SISP) program. He was the first technology teacher to win the prestigious Prime Minister's Prize for Excellence for Secondary Science Teaching. In 2021 he was the recipient of a University of Newcastle Alumni award for national leadership, for his pioneering programs supporting the development of Australia’s future workforce. In 2020 Dr Sleap was conferred with a National Commonwealth Bank Teaching Fellowship and he has previously been awarded as, National Teacher of the Year, by the Australian Design and Technology Teachers Association and was inducted as one of only three national patrons.

Renee Noble

Renee Noble spends her time uniting tech, teaching, and community in as many ways as possible. At Microsoft she is the Regional Cloud Advocate for the Sydney Microsoft Reactor, teaching community events for students and professionals. She is also the National Director of the Girls’ Programming Network, recently founding a charity, Tech Inclusion, to extend that work. She also started her own Business, ConnectEd Code, bringing tech education opportunities to schools, and manages to squeeze in teaching year 10 computer science in the classroom at PLC Sydney. Well known for her work in tech education and the advancement of women, she’s been listed in the AFR 100 Women of Influence, was ICT Educators NSW Leader of the Year, and has been featured in Women’s Weekly’s and CREATE magazine.

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Associate Professor Jane Hunter

Dr Jane Hunter is a former primary and high school teacher. She is an Associate Professor in teacher education specialising in curriculum, pedagogy, professional learning and digital technologies in K-12 education at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. Her work reinforces the importance of continuous teacher professional learning through ongoing school-university partnerships. The pedagogical framework developed out of her research with teachers known as High Possibility Classrooms was awarded ‘High Impact’ by the Australian Research Council (2019) and has led innovation and changes to practice in Australian schools. 

Manjula Sharma completed her early studies at the University of the South Pacific followed by a PhD in physical optics and MEd research methods at The University of Sydney. She is a Professor of Science Education at The University of Sydney, Director of the STEM Teacher Enrichment Academy and is serving as Vice Chair of IUPAP Commission C14 on Physics Education. Nationally, she has led several substantive Government funded projects and has co-founded the premier Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (ACSME) and the International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education (IJISME). She has over 100 peer-reviewed publications and has supervised influential PhD students. Her contributions have been recognised through the 2012 Australian Institute for Physics Education Medal and 2013 Australian Learning and Teaching Fellowship. Professor Sharma is a Principal Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Physics.

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Professor Manjula Devi Sharma


Rod Dowler

Rod Dowler is the National Education and Engagement Manager for ANSTO. Rod specialises in brand management and marketing communications having worked with large Australian corporates and main events. Rod manages the ANSTO Discovery Centre which has built a comprehensive national education program over the last ten years. Rod believes that is critical for the nuclear industry to apply marketing principles and to better understand its stakeholders when creating education and outreach programs. Doing so has led ANSTO to be promote nuclear through the use of creative and innovative formats.

Julianne Stanton

An experienced educator, mentor, project manager, team leader and lifelong learner; I have transferred my scientific skills of investigation, collaboration, communication and problem solving from the laboratory to the corporate and education sectors. After teaching Science and STEM in high schools I am now an Education Adviser at the CSIRO working with Generation STEM; a 10 year STEM education initiative made possible through an endowment from the NSW government to the Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF) to attract, support, retain and train NSW students in STEM and school, into further education and into employment. The first program, the STEM Community Partnerships Program, now in its fourth year works with Stage 5 students providing a range of activities to support their developing of STEM and 21st century skills while highlighting local STEM careers and opportunities.

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Dr Ken Silburn

Dr Ken Silburn is a science educator, communicator, Certified Google Trainer, and passionate about teaching 21st Century Skills and increasing the educational opportunities of students on a global scale. In 2017 he received the prestigious Dr Paul Brock Medal from the Australian College of Educators and was recognised as one of the top ten teachers in the world, from over 23 000 nominations, through the Varkey Global Teacher Prize. Ken is the President of LAZSTA (Metropolitan South West Science Teachers Association) and Coordinator and founder of the iSTEM project delivering science enrichment programs for Australian high school science students and the LAZSTA US Space Academy Program. He is internationally renowned in science education, especially in the area of Environmental and Space Science. He is a strong advocate for engaging students in STEM careers and is a volunteer presenter for the Australian Conservation Foundation, Climate Reality Project.

Teach Meet Spotlight Panel Speakers

Dr Simon Crook

Dr Simon Crook is Director of CrookED Science, an award-winning STEM education consultancy, and Honorary Associate at the School of Physics, The University of Sydney. Simon works with primary and high school teachers and students around many aspects of science and STEM education including running accredited PD for teachers, working with gifted STEM students, making science more hands-on and engaging, and delivering online workshops to HSC science students. He also assists the Sydney University Physics Education Research (SUPER) group with liaising with NESA regarding the science syllabuses. Simon is a regular commentator on education in NSW having written several journal articles, and is a reviewer for 4 international STEM education academic journals. Previously, Simon was a technology education adviser for 7 years to a large system of schools K-12, and a high school physics teacher for 15 years.

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Dr Erin Mackenzie

Erin Mackenzie is a Senior Lecturer in STEM and Educational Psychology in the School of Education, Director of Academic Program of the Postgraduate Specialist Studies program, and a researcher in the Centre for Educational Research at Western Sydney University. She has experience teaching in secondary schools, TAFE, and university settings. Erin lectures in secondary science pedagogy, STEM education, and educational psychology, working with both pre- and in-service secondary teachers. Erin’s research focuses on the role of psychological and social factors in adolescents’ participation in STEM, and she is involved in a range of projects that support connections between schools and industry to enhance STEM education outcomes. 

Amy is a passionate Science teacher with 20 years of experience across sectors, states and countries. For the past 6 years, she has been the Head of Science at NBCS, and more recently, concurrently Director of Academic Projects. Amy serves as a councillor on the boards of the Science Teachers Association of NSW, and also The Teachers Guild of NSW. She works to improve the teaching and learning opportunities for teachers from all sectors and their students. Amy also acts as an educational consultant for a range of institutions including UNSW and the Cancer Institute NSW where she prepared programs and resources to support the NSW Science curriculum.

Amy Ayres

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Thank you to our Sponsors

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