Faridodin “Fredi” Lajvardi
Fredi Lajvardi is an accomplished and inspirational teacher who won the Championship Woodie Flowers Award in 2013. He is the lead teacher on FRC Hall of Fame team 842, as his team won the Championship Chairman’s Award in 2008.
For three decades, high school science teacher, Fredi Lajvardi has engaged, motivated and challenged students by making science fun and introducing them to the field of robotics. With countless hours spent after school, mentoring and investing in the underserved students at Carl Hayden Community High School, Lajvardi drew national attention in 2004, when he entered his diverse high school team in a university level national underwater robotics competition, where they not only proved their skills and ability to compete at that level, but they placed first, defeating leading universities, including MIT.
First covered by Wired magazine, their inspiring story drew attention from local and national media outlets and led to the acclaimed documentary, Underwater Dreams. In March 2015, the film was selected by President Obama to screen at the White House in honor of National Robotics Week and the launch of the “Let Everyone Dream” Coalition, a national initiative introducing new multi-sector partnerships in support of STEM education for underserved students. Their story was also adapted into the major motion picture, Spare Parts, starring actor and comedian, George Lopez as Lajvardi. There is even an IMAX film that features Fredi's team called Dream Big, where his team's story is one of a series of stories covered in the film.
Honored with numerous awards, 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 to 2009, Lajvardi has and continues to be a significant contributor to the increasing interest and awareness of STEM education nationwide. With an effective leadership philosophy, incredible story and a spirited passion for teaching, Lajvardi offers valuable and inspiring insight on fostering teamwork, sparking creativity and helping individuals realize and maximize their potential.