News Release

Nationally Recognized STEM Educator Fredi Lajvardi to Speak at Santa Ana College on Thursday, May 12

Subject of the Documentary, Underwater Dreams, and Major Motion Picture, Spare Parts


Fredi Lajvardi, nationally acclaimed STEM educator, motivational speaker, and inspirational robotics teacher, will address students and the community.

In 2004, a team of high school students from Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, Arizona, defeated college teams, including MIT, in an underwater robotic competition. What made the team’s win even more amazing was that all four students had entered the country illegally and three of four were undocumented immigrants. Their underdog story and that of their teacher and coach Lajvardi was the subject of the documentary, Underwater Dreams, and the motion picture, Spare Parts.

About 98 percent of Carl Hayden Community High School’s student body is Hispanic and qualify for free and reduced lunches. Many speak Spanish at home and have limited English. Nevertheless, against all odds, this unlikely robotics team won against teams from prestigious four-year universities. Not only did they win state and national championships, but they also became role models for the future members of the school’s robotics team.

When asked why he created the robotics team, Lajvardi said, “The kids were bored. That has far reaching implications. They dropped out or learned little because they weren’t finding anything interesting at school.”


Phillips Hall
Santa Ana College
1530 W. 17th St.
Santa Ana, CA 92706


Thursday, May 12, 2016
Keynote Address with Q & A Session: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Book/DVD Signing: 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.


Keynote Speaker: Fredi Lajvardi

Lajvardi has taught at Carl Hayden Community High School for almost 28 years. He currently serves as the program director for the Marine Science Magnet Program and teaches Introduction to Marine Science. He is also the mentor/coach for the Falcon Robotics Team, Team 842

He has been 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 continues to be a significant contributor to the increasing interest and awareness of STEM education nationwide.

Moderator: Steve Bautista, Santa Ana College Center for Teacher Education Coordinator


Spare Parts by Joshua Davis is the 2015-2016 Santa Ana College Book-of-the-Year. To promote college-wide literacy, interdisciplinary collaboration, and a sense of community, Santa Ana College officially adopted an annual initiative called: The Book-of-the-Year Program in fall 2009. Since then, the Teaching Learning Committee, the Book-of-the-Year Committee, and the Nealley Library have worked collaboratively to promote the college-wide reading of the selected title and sponsor theme-related programs and events.


This event was made possible by funding from Orange County Teacher Pathway Partnership project funded by the California Career Pathways Trust.

For more information, contact Santa Ana College librarian Yolanda Garcia at (714) 564-6717 or at

About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which turned 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District. Visit to learn more. For information about Santa Ana College’s Centennial, please visit

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Contact: Judy Iannaccone

Phone: (714) 480-7503