Introducing Dave Nelson, Taking the Helm in Technology & Commerce

This year, we welcome Dave Nelson as the Head of Technology & Commerce. With a wealth of skills and experience, Dave is well-equipped to excel in his new role. We chatted with Dave about his career path and passion for technology.

Tell us a little about your career path prior to Santa Maria College.

I embarked on my journey in education back in 1991, stepping into a teaching role at Sacred Heart, a small Catholic primary school in Highgate. It was an era when technology and the internet were rapidly evolving, and I found myself drawn to the exciting prospect of guiding its integration into the educational sphere.

My passion for technological advancement led me to take the lead in establishing the IT network at Liwara Catholic Primary, all while immersing myself in teaching Technology to eager young minds. From there, I embarked on a fulfilling path, sharing my expertise at John XXIII College and Saint Mary’s Anglican Girls School.

In my most recent role, I had the privilege of serving as the Head of Technology at Newman College for a rewarding five years. During this time, I worked tirelessly to shape and refine the college’s technological landscape, striving to provide students and staff with the tools they needed to thrive in an increasingly digital world.

Reflecting on my journey, I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to foster innovation and educational excellence through technology. Each step of the way, I’ve been privileged to leave a lasting impact on the communities I’ve served, and I look forward to continuing this meaningful work at Santa Maria College

What inspired you to pursue the position of Head of Technology and Commerce?

I’ve always been drawn to working with young women, especially in the realm of technology. Despite its historical male dominance, witnessing the ingenuity and creativity that students display when solving tech-related challenges is truly inspiring. Santa Maria College boasts a rich tradition of innovation, dating back to our foundress Catherine McAuley. Joining this legacy and spearheading initiatives in Technology and Commerce felt like an exhilarating opportunity to contribute to a remarkable history.

What do you love most about working with high school students in the area of technology and commerce?

Working with high school students in the realm of technology is an absolute joy! What I love most is witnessing the endless enthusiasm and limitless creativity they bring to the table. What truly sets them apart is that they are fearless in the face of innovation. They aren’t afraid to push boundaries, break moulds, and explore the uncharted territories of technology.

Every day is a new adventure as I watch these students tackle challenges with gusto, armed with nothing but curiosity and determination. Whether it’s coding a new app, designing a website, or diving into robotics, their passion is infectious.

Working with high school students in technology allows me to be a part of something bigger than myself. It is about nurturing the next generation of innovators, problem-solvers, and changemakers. Seeing them grow, learn, and ultimately thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of technology fills me with a sense of pride and purpose like no other.

How do you stay up to date on the latest advancements and trends in technology and commerce in education?

I keep up with the latest advancements and trends by regularly reading industry news websites, following relevant social media accounts, participating in professional forums and webinars, and networking with professionals in the education field. I also learn a great amount from my students!

Are you an Apple or Android guy?

I appreciate both Apple and Android systems, finding value in the unique strengths of each. By leveraging the capabilities of both platforms, I’m able to accomplish a wide range of tasks efficiently and effectively.

If you could travel back in time and work on any tech project in history, what would it be?

Imagine being transported to 1993 when Jensen Huang, a Taiwanese American electrical engineer, established NVIDIA, a company that revolutionised graphics processing. Despite facing financial constraints and numerous rejections from potential buyers, he persisted in refining his graphic cards and narrowly avoided bankruptcy several times. Fast forward to today, and NVIDIA stands as a powerhouse in artificial intelligence hardware and software, boasting a valuation of around two billion dollars. Being involved in the development of such a groundbreaking company would undoubtedly be an exhilarating experience.

What do you love to do in your downtime?

I prioritise spending time with my family, cherishing moments with my wife Kristen, daughter Ava, and son Cooper. Whether it’s enjoying family holidays down south or simply going out for dinner or ice cream, their company is always my top priority. As a dedicated West Coast Eagles fan, watching football matches is a favourite pastime, although I’m not sure if it counts as downtime when the games are intense! Additionally, I have a deep appreciation for a diverse range of music on Spotify, including the occasional Taylor Swift track.

What is something people might be surprised to know about you?

Something that might surprise people about me is that I didn’t perform well in my Year 12 TEE. It was mostly because I didn’t put in enough effort into my studies, and the learning environment wasn’t as supportive as I needed it to be. However, with my mother’s guidance, I repeated the year at Canning College. Fortunately, I had a supportive mentor who helped me stay focused, and as a result, I achieved excellent results. This allowed me to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Education at Curtin University. The rest is history!

Dave, thank you so much for sharing your story with us and we wish you all the best for your time at Santa Maria College.

What A Term! So Many Opportunities – Jennifer Oaten

As I look back on the past nine weeks, I am so grateful for who we are as a community and what we have achieved. Through the dedication of our staff and the enthusiasm of our students, we have established new connections, immersed ourselves in opportunities and worked through challenges.

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