2012 BH Neumann Awards

The three awardees for 2012 were presented with their awards at separate ceremonies throughout the year.

Janine McIntosh, of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, Melbourne, was presented with a BH Neumann Award at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Melbourne, on Thursday 23 August, 2012.

Graham Meiklejohn, of Brisbane, was presented with a BH Neumann Award at the Quay West Hotel, Brisbane, on Tuesday 30 October, 2012.

Mr Sun Wen-Hsien, of Chiu Chang Foundation, was presented with a BH Neumann Award at his bookshop in central Taipei, on Friday 13 April, 2012.

Janine McIntosh

bhnmcintosh20121[1]

Janine receives her Award from Mr Greg Taylor AO, Chairman of the Australian Mathematics Trust Board.

Citation

Janine McIntosh has very strong qualifications for a BH Neumann Award. Until about eight years ago Janine was a primary school teacher at a school in Deer Park and later at another at Pascoe Vale. As a rare Primary maths specialist, Janine has put in a sustained effort principally as a member of the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians Problems Committee, and in recent years has doubled up with other eligibility via the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute as an author of the ICE-EM series of texts and as a provider of professional development for teachers.

Janine was born in Melbourne, but was the daughter of Dutch immigrants. Her father arrived when he was 18 and worked hard to bring his other family members out, including Janine’s grandparents, who acted as a particular inspiration, particularly the importance of education, honesty, self-confidence and love of family.

Even though her father died before her eighth birthday, Janine has vivid memories of him supervising her homework, particularly getting the numbers right. This progressed into a habit of looking for examples where she could count in real situations. Counting the number of panes in the stained glass window of the church was an incentive to attend church.

Janine coasted through maths at school, enjoying opportunities to see patterns, and attributes a teacher Pat Felvus in year 8 at Strathmore Secondary School as being a particular inspiration in not only seeing patterns, but in seeking to understand the mathematics behind them.

Janine spent a year after year 11 in Mexico, where she realised that mathematics was a universal subject, even the same in Spanish. She came back for Year 12 and qualified for University entry.

She started a BSc at the University of Melbourne enthusiastically, but did not complete, and found herself working in the foreign exchange section of a large bank for 18 months, but then completed her education and connection ambitions by returning to study, this time qualifying as a primary school teacher.

In doing so she took the rare step for a primary teacher of taking a mathematics major, and working with other such students, and with good teachers generated a lot of confidence with the subject and developing further appreciation by learning more of the subject’s history.

At this time Janine met Paul, who as a carpenter has demonstrated to Janine the wider use of mathematics and the need to make mathematics more widely accessible, without dropping standards.

Janine recommends the statement by philosopher Joseph Campbell that we should “follow our bliss”. She believes if you do what you enjoy your career will work out for you.

She spent much of her earlier career at St Peter Chanel Primary School in Melbourne’s western suburbs at Deer Park and after the birth of the two sons went back to University to study towards a Masters. Here, at Melbourne University, she was teaching undergraduate students also and she believes her mathematics teaching improved with help of colleagues such as Gary Asp, Terry Beeby, Helen Chick, John Dowsey (with whom she shared an office), Max Stephens and Kaye Stacey.

Janine also worked on the Victorian Curriculum and Standards Framework and the Victorian Catholic Education Office Success in Numeracy Education Programme.

John Dowsey coaxed Janine, probably with little difficulty, into becoming a moderator for the Mathematics Challenge for Young Australians and soon after, she joined the problems committee proper, where she still is today. By this time she was back in the class room, teaching at St Oliver’s in Pascoe Vale.

A third child, with the palindromic name Hannah was born and I think it would go without saying that all three children have benefited mathematically from Janine’s attention, and they have also helped Janine to learn new tricks.

Janine’s career has culminated a few years ago with the transfer from St Oliver’s to an appointment at AMSI, where she has been a real mainstay. Janine has been pro-active in so many programs at AMSI that I cannot do justice. However she first became involved as a writer for the ICE-EM texts, where she was the main contributor for the primary year 5 and 6 texts. She did this in the company of traditionally more senior mathematicians such as Garth Gaudry, Michael Evans, David Hunt, Bill Pender and Peter Brown.

She was also heavily involved in the professional development component of this, which led to later enriching projects such as the TIMES project and the new one which will emanate from the recent Chubb report, as well as the various sub sections of these projects such as Mathematicians in Schools, Maths by email, and a nice project on posters and videos featuring careers in mathematics.

Janine is still as active as ever in all these activities and there could well be a lot more to come as Janine shows no signs of letting up.

All in all, ladies and gentlemen, I present an exceptionally worthy winner of the BH Neumann Award in Janine McIntosh, and ask our Chairman Greg Taylor to step forward to make the presentation.

Peter Taylor
23 August 2012

Graham Meiklejohn

2012bhnmeiklejohn

Graham receives his Award from Professor Peter Taylor, Executive Director of the Australian Mathematics Trust.

Citation

Graham went to Coorparoo State School and Cavendish Road State High School, where he found teachers to inspire and interest in maths, and apparently other things – it seems to have been a happy time. Some of his teachers later became colleagues after he graduated from Kelvin Grove College of Advanced Education.

Sport was also a strong part of Graham’s school life, having won a state competition at cricket and playing Australian football despite being in a rugby league family.

Two years out of school Graham already received a Certificate of Teaching and was posted to Mt Gravatt State School where he stayed for five years.

He married Max, they moved to the northside and Graham got a posting to Ferny Hills State School, much closer to home. He spent 9 years there and during the Whitlam years there was encouragement for teachers to continue tertiary studies. Graham chose every mathematics option in his studies and from 1974 to 1988 he completed a Diploma, Bachelor of Education and Master of Education (Primary Mathematics) courses.

These studies helped to shape the next phase of his career when he was invited to form part of the curriculum development team which designed and developed the Years 1 to 10 Mathematics Syllabus and supporting materials. This was the first syllabus in Queensland to prepare a program of study across primary and secondary schools. Other members of the team were Neville Grace and Barry Salmon who became close work colleagues.

Through his work in the team and through later years, Graham would learn about the Australian Mathematics Competition from Neville who was State Director for many years and passed the baton to him after his retirement in 2001.

Through the early 1990s, Neville and Graham would become Senior Education Officers (for Secondary and Primary Mathematics respectively) and they would work together on a range of projects both in Queensland and abroad (The Kingdom of Tonga). As opportunities arose, especially in the primary area, Graham was seconded to other projects and wrote numeracy materials for Queensland’s Year 2 Diagnostic Net and also for the National Numeracy Benchmarks for Years 3, 5 and 7.

Graham developed a strong connection with the Queensland Years 3, 5 and 7 Testing Programs, wrote the initial framework for item development and reporting, and for some time took part in the panels responsible for item selection.

In 1999 Graham accepted the position as Principal Project Officer within the Queensland School Curriculum Council. His task was to manage the design and development of a new Years 1 to 10 Mathematics Syllabus based around learning outcomes. This task was completed in February 2003 when the syllabus was approved and work on the supporting materials began.

In June 2003, Graham accepted an offer of early retirement from Education Queensland from whom he had been seconded since 1995 and became involved in a number of part-time roles, one of which is assisting Lutheran schools in Queensland to implement the newly approved syllabus, and consulting for the Tongan government.

Graham has continued his role as State Director (Queensland) also since then.

In noting his qualification for this BH Neumann Award, I note not only his work with the Australian Mathematics Trust but also his significant contributions to mathematics education in Queensland.

Peter Taylor
30 October 2012

Graham Mieklejohn

Graham with family at the presentation, from left daughter Christie, Miles Hindle (fiance of Sheyne), wife Maxine, daughter Sheyne, son Andrew and daughter in law Paula Acheson.

Graham Mieklejohn 3

Graham with long-time colleague Neville Grace, his predecessor as AMC State Director for Queensland.

Sun Wen-Hsien

Mr Sun Wen-Hsien, of Chiu Chang Foundation, was presented with a BH Neumann Award at his bookshop in central Taipei, on Friday 13 April, 2012.

bhnsun2012

Mr Sun is shown receiving this award from Professor Taylor.

Wen-Hsien Sun is a philanthropic mathematics book publisher in Taipei, who runs the largest mathematics bookshops in Beijing and Taipei. He holds WFNMC’s Erdos Award for his work in helping talented Taiwan students. He is one of the mainstays of regional events including International Youth Intercity Mathematics Contest and makes other international events available to Taiwan students, such as the International Mathematics Tournament of Towns. He is hosting the International Mathematics Competition in Taipei in 2012. He introduced the AMC to Taiwan and is the Taiwan National Director for the AMC.

Peter Taylor
Friday 13 April 2012