Women of The Future – Kristen Fox
What happens when you have Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) without the Arts? The loss of creativity, imagination and non-linear thinking? How does one dream up the solutions to the world’s scientific problems? Develop cures? Design bridges? Push our world further. Without these creative solutions, STEM would not be as powerful. I would argue that those who are accomplished in the STEM industries, have a creative side that has allowed them to flourish and outpace their peers. These are the leaders in the world that have designed, created and pushed boundaries.
At Rangi Ruru, our values have always included the Arts. When STEM became all the rage, Rangi Ruru continued to offer their liberal arts courses and valued them as much as the sciences. Instead of opting to solely focus on the current educational trends, Rangi pushed past the noise and embraced what the Arts bring to a curriculum. They never put students in a box and made them choose. Students could have both – be both – study both. This freedom has not only pushed Rangi Ruru’s students to incredible heights, but has given Rangi graduates the advantage of stretching beyond the bounds of what society deemed essential.
Rangi’s students push the boundaries of groupthink, using creative strategies to hit bold targets in their fields. They question and challenge the way things are done. Take one of our most recent graduates, Anneka Calder (class of 2019). In her first year of tertiary studies at the University of Auckland, Anneka received the inaugural ‘Bachelor of Design Game Changer’ scholarship worth $15,000. Using personal experience, and her creative drive, Anneka explained how she can use her design skills to be a game changer in the future. Combining elements of environment, technology and design, Anneka will assist those who previously had barriers (specifically students with dyslexia) to succeed and achieve in their chosen fields.
Claire (Yu) Liu (class of 2018) is studying geophysics at Imperial College London. She is completing a four year Bachelor-Master’s degree. As a student at Rangi Ruru, Claire was unsure of what she wanted to major in for the majority of her school career. She did know one thing though – that she wanted to work in academia, and be called “Dr. Liu.” This drive pushed her to succeed, but the breadth of courses she took at Rangi Ruru developed her interests, as she narrowed her choices of what to study. Claire had a passion for reading – anything from psychology to neuroscience and zoology to philosophy. She had a keen interest in the world around her and so many things she wanted to explore. Rangi’s Ruru’s offering of various liberal arts courses in addition to her sciences helped define her future studies.
Sophia Batchelor (class of 2012) is another star graduate from Rangi Ruru. Sophie has completed quadruple degrees at the University of California, Berkeley (San Francisco) in Neuroscience, Psychology with Honors, Computer Science and Bioethics. Her main area of research is memory acquisition in Virtual Reality with brain computer interfaces (BCI). She landed an internship in New York producing the world’s first brain computer (Notion) last year (2019)! To add to these incredible accomplishments, Sophia assisted the neurosurgery to embed one of her BCI’s into the brain of a patient at John Hopkins Hospital with remarkably successful results for the patient. Given her love for STEAM, Sophia has spent time teaching and mentoring students at MIT and Berkeley just as she was mentored at Rangi Ruru. As the future unfolds, Sophia now finds herself starting her PhD’s in neuroscience and psychology at Leeds University in Great Britain. Continuing her research, Sophia will be advising government health officials in Britain on safe guidelines for us the use of VR in children as part of her involvement in “The Bradford Study.” As an accomplished speaker, consultant and researcher, Sophia explained to her last audience of 10,000 teenagers at a science conference about “the wonderful Rangi Ruru teachers who fanned the flames of passionate learning inside her” and “who never doubted for a minute that I could achieve more than I could dream possible”.
Rangi’s appreciation for the Arts truly compliments STEM education, and as evidenced by our graduates, this vision has proven to be effective. With graduates studying all over the world in a variety of STEAM careers, Rangi Ruru’s development of their students has stood the test of time. With an emphasis on “out of the box” thinking development of the personal journey, and encouragement to see past what is in front of them, Rangi Ruru’s graduates are outpacing the rest.