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STEMM Educator of the Year – University or Registered Training Organisation

Congratulations to the 2024 STEMM Educator of the Year (University or Registered Training Organisation) finalists

Anatomy: an applied science for allied health professionals 

Dr Nicola Massy-Westropp, Dr Arjun Burlakoti, Dr Harsha Wechalekar - University of South Australia 

This teaching team plays an essential role in providing allied health students with the anatomical knowledge they need to make a profound difference to the health of thousands of people in South Australia and beyond. They focus on making learning anatomy approachable and fun, to ensure it is relevant for the future careers of students.

They have worked with primary schools to show how nutritious food and daily activities increase the connectivity between neurons, resulting in an Oliphant Science Award for one primary school. UniSA hosts metropolitan, regional and international high school students to explore health science, including practical classes in the anatomy laboratories set up by the team.

This team believes that stigma about human body donors can be resolved by communication, and actively help people to understand the wonder of the human body through a range of activities such as the Body Donor Memorial Service.  

Professor Craig Priest 

University of South Australia, Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF-SA) 

Craig is a leader in specialist industry-engaged education. His innovative approach to STEMM education has seen him establish the internationally renowned ANFF-SA Microengineering Winter School, launch Australia’s first ANFF-based apprenticeship, and oversee a ten-fold growth of industry-based final-year undergraduate projects at UniSA. Through these initiatives, Craig is shaping industry-ready graduates, who enter the workplace with the skills they need to be highly successful professionals.

 

Craig’s innovative education approach delivers this talent to organisations in priority areas such as defence, space, and medical technology. By ensuring homegrown talent is available to support local enterprise, Craig’s unique approach to teaching STEMM helps foster the fantastic innovation boom currently happening in South Australia, which is creating global opportunities for this state. 

Transforming medical science education

Associate Professor Voula Gaganis - Flinders University 

Associate Professor Voula Gaganis is the Teaching Program Director of Medical Bioscience courses at the College of Medicine and Public Health, Flinders University. She is an active educator who teaches medical science topics to hundreds of undergraduate students.  

Driven by a passion to support students in learning complex concepts, she has transformed medical science teaching through an innovative and imaginative approach to course design that embeds active, hands-on physiology laboratories, using advanced cloud-based learning technology, and learning of scientific skills and techniques. Former didactic, lecture-based classes have been transformed through, among other innovations, real-life clinical scenarios supported by engaging open access digital resources. Her curriculum transformations have clearly and positively impacted student performance and satisfaction.  

 

She has developed strategic and collaborative links across the medical science sector to ensure curriculum design relevant to graduate employability, including leading the development, implementation and accreditation of new Flinders laboratory medicine courses, including South Australia’s first Associate Degree in Laboratory Medicine. 

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