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Special speaker to stress importance of science and technology | Arts & Culture

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Special speaker to stress importance of science and technology
Special speaker to stress importance of science and technology

BATESVILLE, Ark. – Faridodin “Fredi” Lajvardi, a nationally-recognized STEM educator, will be the featured speaker at this year’s Citizens Bank Speakers’ Series at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville.  (STEM is an acronym referring to the academic disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.)

Lajvardi’s presentation, “Spare Parts: Improbable to Unstoppable” will be at 6 p.m. on Sept. 15 in Independence Hall on the UACCB campus.  The presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session and meet and greet.  The event is free and open to the public.  The Citizens Bank Speakers’ Series at UACCB was initiated last year and featured James Bradley, author of the best-selling book, “Flags of Our Fathers.” 

“Citizens Bank is pleased to sponsor the Speakers’ Series at UACCB and welcome such an inspirational educator,” said Phil Baldwin, president and CEO of the bank.  “We are proud to partner with UACCB on the Speakers’ Series, which was developed to provide a forum for presentations that challenge us to advance our educational and community values.”

Lajvardi and his team have revolutionized STEM education at Carl Hayden High School in Arizona and have dramatically increased the number of students going into engineering and technical fields. Lajvardi believes that every high school should have an extracurricular STEM program to help reverse the science, math and technology deficit that currently exists in Arizona and the United States by showing the youth of today that hard work and determination in STEM fields can be fun, exciting and rewarding.

Lajvardi has taught in the Phoenix Union High school District of Arizona for more than 30 years.  His ability to engage and motivate students was evident from the beginning.  He challenged his students by teaching them about robotics and founded the Falcon Robotics Team.  Lajvardi and his students at Carl Hayden Community High School caught the nation’s eye when they competed at the university level at a national underwater robotics competition in 2004 and bested MIT and a number of other major universities.  Their story inspired the critically-acclaimed documentary Underwater Dreams and the major motion picture Spare Parts starring George Lopez as Lajvardi. Lopez was recently recognized by the Imagen Foundation as the 2015 Feature Film Best Actor for this role.

Lajvardi has received numerous awards for his ability as a teacher, including the IEEE National Outstanding Educator for 2005, the Arizona Department of Education Leadership Award for 2006 and the City of Phoenix Outstanding Teacher of the Year each year from 2005 through 2009.