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Veena Nair wins Australian Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching

She began her teaching career in Mumbai, where she provided computers to low socio-economic schools and taught students how to code.

Melbourne-based Indian-origin science teacher Veena Nair has received the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools.

Ms Nair has been awarded for “demonstrating the practical application of science to students and how they can use their skills to impact the world.”

Through her endeavours, she has helped increase the number of students who receive first-round offers to study engineering and technology at Australian universities.

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In a statement, Ms Nair thanked Ed Husic MP and Anthony Albanese for their strong support of the fields of science and technology. She observed:

“Your speeches gave teachers like me hope that one day my students too can aspire to achieve what the distinguished scientists in the various categories had achieved. Your passion and energy reflected in your speech was infectious. Thank you so much for this honor.”

Ms Nair has more than 20 years of experience teaching science-based subjects across three different countries—India, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Australia. She is presently Head of Technology and STEAM Project leader at Viewbank College in Victoria.

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Veena Nair (Image source: ScienceGovAU – Twitter)

Ms Nair has a BSc (Physics) and a BEd (Science and Mathematics) from the University of Mumbai and an MEd (maths education) from Deakin University. She began her teaching career in Mumbai, where she provided computers to low socio-economic schools and taught students how to code.

As a STEAM project leader, she has endeavoured to develop student and staff capacity in new and emerging technologies like 3D printing and designing, wearable technologies, and social entrepreneurship based on UN SDG through the Young Persons Plan for the Planet (YPPP) program.

Ms Nair has also established a Joint Vision for STEM committee including school and tertiary educators and industry experts, with the intention of developing strategies to make STEAM education and careers in STEM accessible for all students, especially females.

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Recipients of the Annual Prime Minister’s Prizes for Australian Science 2022 (Image source: Ed Husic – LinkedIn)

Ed Husic, Australia’s Minister for Industry and Science, said in a statement:

“We should seize any chance to celebrate Australian science, smarts and know-how – this night is a phenomenal way to do this.”

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in 2018, Ms Nair was nominated for Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Secondary Schools and was awarded the Educator of the Year Award by the Design and Technology Teachers’ Association of Australia.

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Educator of the Year Award by Design and Technology Teachers’ Association of Australia (image source: Veena Nair – LinkedIn)

The prestigious Annual Prime Minister’s Prizes for Australian Science were hosted in Canberra after two years of interruption caused by COVID-19 restrictions.

The Annual awards paid tribute to Australian scientists, innovators, and teachers who have through their dedication to the field highlighted the importance of science.

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Recipients of the Annual Prime Minister’s Prizes for Australian Science 2022 (Image source: Ed Husic – LinkedIn)

Prime Minister’s Prize for Science was awarded to Professor Trevor McDougall from the University of NSW; Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation was awarded to Adjunct Professor Alison Todd and Dr Elisa Mokany from SpeeDx; Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation was awarded to Dr Nick Cutmore, Dr James Tickner and Mr Dirk Treasure from Chrysos; Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year was awarded to Dr Adele Morrison from the Australian National University; Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools was awarded to George Pantazis from Marble Bar Primary School in WA; Frank Fenner Prize for Life Scientist of the Year was awarded to Professor Si Ming Man from Australian National University; Prize for New Innovators was awarded to Associate Professor Brett Hallam from the University of NSW, and the Prize for New Innovators was awarded to Dr Pip Karoly from the University of Melbourne and Seer Medical.

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