Emanuel School’s Head of Innovation and Digital Technologies (K-6), Sophie Poisel, has been awarded the
coveted Premier’s Prize for Innovation in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM)
Teaching in NSW.
“In a year that has provided our teachers with unprecedented challenges demanding ingenious solutions,
Sophie Poisel from Emanuel School is a deserving winner of the Premier’s Prize for Innovation in Science,
Technology, Engineering or Mathematics Teaching in NSW,” said NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer Professor
Hugh Durrant-Whyte. “The commitment of teachers like Sophie will ensure that today’s students are the
future prize recipients at events like this.”
In 2018 Sophie received the Premier’s Commonwealth Bank Teacher Scholarship for STEM and spent five
weeks visiting leading schools and universities across North America. Inspired by her experience, Sophie
has implemented innovative teaching practices in her classroom, both within and beyond the curriculum.
Within the curriculum, Sophie works collaboratively with Emanuel School’s K-6 teachers to develop
transdisciplinary units of inquiry that focus on real-world problem solving, and building students’ skills in
Scientific, Systems, Computational and Design Thinking. She has connected industry experts with teachers
to inspire students to pursue and maintain interest in STEM areas.
Sophie spent many hours designing and adapting the Primary Imaginarium as an effective space to
encourage the exploration of scientific concepts through play, experimentation and tinkering.
Beyond the curriculum, Sophie has worked with groups of Emanuel students on projects related to personal
passions or competitions. She designed and piloted an exciting after-school program at Emanuel School to
develop students’ interest, confidence and aspirations in STEM. The program sought to break the
stereotypes of what a scientist looks like, and what working in a STEM field involves, through connections
with STEM experts. These projects have served to motivate and raise the profile of STEM.
Emanuel School’s Principal, Andrew Watt, commented: “Sophie’s passion for STEM is infectious. Together
with our Primary teachers she has helped develop a deep interest in innovation and discovery amongst our
students. She has been instrumental in encouraging children to achieve their potential and is an inspiring
role model for students.”
Beyond the School, Sophie has taken opportunities to share her expertise by presenting at multiple
conferences. Having been awarded a Google grant, Sophie designed and led a team to organise the
DigiTech Deep Dive conference for Primary School educators, providing excellent networking and shared
Sophie was delighted to receive the Premier’s Award: “I feel honoured to receive this award and to meet
some of Australia’s leading scientists. I’m passionate about fostering curiosity and wonder in STEM and
empowering students to see how STEM skills enable them to design and create a better world.”
The NSW Premier’s Prizes for Science & Engineering is an annual event held by the NSW Government to
celebrate the achievements of the state’s finest scientists, engineers and educators. It is held at Government
House in the presence of its patron, Her Excellency, the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of
New South Wales. This is the first time in the Award’s history that the number of female recipients
1. Sophie and Emanuel students exploring STEM in the School’s Imaginarium
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