Adrian Casten

Burnside State High School, QLD

Gubbi Gubbi Country
Teaching Fellow

With a background as a mechanical engineer, Adrian has given his Burnside State High School students a flying start in STEM by establishing unique courses in aviation and using drones. Deeply committed to advancing STEM education, Adrian’s engaging programs have earned Burnside State High School recognition as a leader in this field throughout Australia and is one of only a few schools globally who offer similar courses.

When Adrian joined Burnside, STEM subjects attracted low student numbers. With his expertise and drive, the school now boasts a dedicated STEM Drone Engineering Makerspace where students design, build and fly drones and became the first in Australia to introduce a Certificate III in Aviation – Remote Pilot for their students.

Adrian’s courses have seen interest in STEM subjects take off, especially amongst female students, while the skills his courses promote – critical thinking, problem solving, experiential learning and collaboration – have had an impact across other learning areas. Student engagement has measurably increased and behavioural issues for students taking his courses have dropped by 80%.

Committed to collaboration and sharing knowledge, Adrian has presented at conferences for teachers looking to establish an aviation curriculum, instigated the Holey Moley drone competition for schools, and created invaluable partnerships with industry, leading to new career pathways for students. Last year, 20% of his students progressed to university or trades related to careers in aviation. Adrian’s collaborative drive led to four high schools cooperating to construct a Vans RV12 two-seater sports aircraft, with project management and engineering support from industry experts and Burnside students are now constructing another two aircraft.