BHN Award for Janine Louisa McIntosh
Posted Thursday 23 August 2012
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.
Janine receives her Award from Mr Greg Taylor AO, Chairman of the Australian Mathematics Trust Board.
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.
23 August 2012
Janine with family, from left husband Paul sister Yvonne, daughter Hannah and sons Joseph and Lachlan..