STEM MAD National award-winners announced

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1 September 2022

The nation’s most outstanding Catholic school science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) student teams were recognised yesterday as part of the STEM MAD National competition.

Now in its second year, STEM MAD National is a celebration of student learning designed to acknowledge and promote STEM learning initiatives that address real-world problems and demonstrate the ethos of Catholic schools, encouraging students to ‘make a difference’ (MAD) in the world by acting for justice and the common good.

Organising committee Chair Dr Doug Ashleigh, Catholic Network Australia (CNA), said the task of the judges was extremely challenging with schools from 15 dioceses around the country participating.

‘Primary and secondary student teams were invited to design a product, service or innovation to make a difference to others or the environment.

‘Each diocese was asked to nominate local finalists for national judging and the standard of work was very high’, he said.

Event coordinator Shelley Waldon, Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS), said the entries tackled issues ranging from local and personal challenges such as disability, wellbeing and the impact of COVID-19, to community and global challenges such as natural disasters, aviation, climate action and species loss.

‘The creativity and deep-thinking of our young people, along with the care they have for their fellow citizens and communities, never cease to amaze me. It gives great hope that the future is in good hands’, she said.

With support from major sponsor CNA, 72 award-winning teams comprising around 200 students will travel to Melbourne next Tuesday (6 September) to showcase their projects to the 1,300 delegates at the National Catholic Education Conference.

One of Australia’s most inspirational and influential STEM practitioners and advocates, Dr Jordan Nguyen, will also be on hand to meet and address the students.

A LIVE FM online broadcast will run throughout the day, including interviews with students, school leaders, sponsors and stakeholders. For more information, visit the STEM MAD National website.

STEM MAD National thanks its major sponsors CNA, MACS, National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC), The Andy Thomas Space Foundation, Arkaroola Research and Education Foundation, Data4Good and SEAM (Social Enterprise Asset Management).

STEM MAD was initiated by MACS in 2018, with the inaugural national program taking place as an online event in 2021.

Congratulations to the following major award-winning Catholic schools:

  • STEM MAD National Award (Primary): St Aloysius Catholic Primary School, Cronulla (Sydney Catholic Schools), Sensor App
  • STEM MAD National Award (Secondary): Sacred Heart College, New Town (Catholic Education Tasmania), Save the Swifty
  • STEM MAD National − Future Is STEM Award (Primary): All Saints Parish Primary School, Albany Creek (Brisbane Catholic Education), Airborne Ambulance
  • STEM MAD National − Future Is STEM Award (Secondary): Sacred Heart College, New Town (Catholic Education Tasmania), Life Saving Flood Level Indicator
  • CNA Award for Demonstrating the Catholic Ethos (Primary): St Ambrose Catholic Primary School, Pottsville (Diocese of Lismore Catholic Schools), A Helping Hand
  • CNA Award for Demonstrating the Catholic Ethos (Secondary): Catherine McAuley Westmead (Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta), Jarara Totem Project
  • CNA Award for Social Justice (Primary): St Mark’s School, Dingley (MACS), Solar Shower
  • CNA Award for Social Justice (Secondary): Aquinas College, Ringwood (MACS), Trans Wheeler.

A full list of award-winning and nominated schools will be posted on the STEM MAD National website.

Media contact: Gerard Delaney on 0413 274 176 or

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