An update from the CEO

We are certainly approaching a busy time of year for the NYSF – heading into our 35th year celebrations in 2018.

Our planning for the NYSF Year 12 program is ahead of schedule. We are expecting nearly 600 young people from across Australia in January, within our Canberra and Brisbane sessions. It has been very exciting to be able to scale this program with the support of our Brisbane host, the University of Queensland. We are also thrilled to be introducing some new activities into the program this year. Participants will have the opportunity to choose activities outside of their interest groups and attend a new STEM + day. The STEM + activity encourages students to explore combined STEM related disciplines such as ‘science and law’, ‘science and linguistics’, ‘science and arts’ and ‘science and business’ – to name a few.

I am excited to advise that the NYSF’s National Science Teachers Summer School in Brisbane is now full, and the Canberra program is not far behind with limited places remaining for those still wanting to attend. I believe this validates our approach to teacher professional development. In contrast to some other teachers’ programs, NYSF’s program doesn’t focus on “telling teachers how to teach better”. Our focus is on developing a community of practice amongst our participants, who come from schools and school systems across Australia, about learning across the STEM disciplines through reinvigorating the passions of the teachers – their passions for science engineering, technology, mathematics – along with the passion and potential of their students.

At the time of writing, we have two new confirmed funding partners for the 2018 programs that I am very pleased to welcome on board – Macquarie University and Defence Force Recruiting. Expanding the number and range of organisations willing to support the NYSF’s activities allows us to continue to expand the opportunities for our young participants to make informed choices about their futures.

The NYSF recently accepted an opportunity to speak at a summit about future proofing STEM industries, specifically about the importance of partnerships that yield opportunity for Australia’s young scientists. The NYSF was asked to be involved due to our track record of collaborating with industry, universities and research organisations to provide tangible learning experiences and inspiring leaders and entrepreneurs to determine and invent their futures. Further to this, the NYSF has also been involved in consultations with regard to the Science in Society initiative currently being developed by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. Another engagement opportunity has included the industry skilling strategy of the Department of Defence.

I would like to take this opportunity, as the end of the year approaches, to thank my Board which is very capably lead by Mr Andrew Metcalfe AO. I have very much enjoyed working with such a professional and committed group of individuals with incredibly diverse careers and achievements. Additionally, an even bigger thankyou to the NYSF’s corporate staff who diligently work behind the scenes to facilitate our suite of outreach programs. Without these people, our funders, and Rotary friends, the amazing work that we do here at the NYSF would not be possible.

No matter how or why you celebrate the forthcoming festive season – of Christmas, Ashura, Yom Kippur, Bodhi or Hanukkah – on behalf of all of us here at the NYSF, we hope you enjoy the time with your family and friends and remain safe.

Double the fun for science teachers in January 2018 – only a few places left!

The NYSF is very excited to announce that two National Science Teachers Summer School (NSTSS) programs will run in January 2018.

Our well-established program at The Australian National University (ANU) will continue, with places for 40 teachers next year. In addition, a second program will run at The University of Queensland (UQ), also with places for 40 teachers.

These additional places are supported through funding from the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

The NYSF’s NSTSS is a five-day professional development program for experienced and new secondary science teachers from across Australia.

At the NSTSS, participants share experiences, engage in a professional dialogue about teaching and learning, gain knowledge on the latest cutting-edge research from scientists and academics, and explore new methods of engaging students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Last year’s participants reported a very high level of satisfaction with the program.

Vince from Canberra says, “The best thing about the NYSF’s NSTSS was being able to engage with other enthusiastic science teachers from across the country, and sharing and learning about cutting edge scientific research and pedagogies, in a collaborative manner.”

“Attending the NSTSS was the best way to wrap up my first year of teaching science. I was re-engaged with the content and the latest scientific research; re-connected to the academic community and like-minded educators; and re-inspired to bring the passion of my experiences to my students. NSTSS 2017 showed me the immeasurable value of professional development, and growing a professional learning network (PLN) outside of my school,” said Hannah from Sydney.

With the focus on STEM increasing in schools across the country, the NYSF’s NSTSS program is an opportunity for both new and experienced teachers to hear about the most up-to-date research, equipping them with the knowledge to not just teach their students, but to inspire them.

At NYSF’s NSTSS you will:

  • learn about the latest science breakthroughs in a range of subject areas, and how to communicate them to your students;
  • visit world-leading research facilities at our host university campuses;
  • hear from guest educator lecturers;
  • discuss what works in the classroom and share experiences with peers;
  • build your STEM teaching networks across the country and make new friends at a series of social events; and
  • engage with Australia’s leading STEM students attending the NYSF Year 12 program, giving you an understanding of that program’s benefits.

The NSTSS is part of the NYSF’s suite of programs to inform young people about study and career pathways within STEM so they may make informed decisions and reach their full potential.

Cornelia Cefai, NSTSS 2017

Georgia from Victoria says, “The week of the NYSF’s NSTSS in January strengthened my love of science, and provided me with additional tools to engage students with the science disciplines. It was an amazing opportunity, and one I will remember for many years to come.”

Location: In 2018, the NYSF will run two NSTSS programs concurrently:

  • NSTSS Canberra based at the Australian National University (ANU);
  • NSTSS Brisbane based at the University of Queensland (UQ).

Dates for both programs: Monday 8 January – Friday 12 January 2018.

Cost: $350 (This includes all meals and accommodation for the length of the program) or $200 if the applicant has their own accommodation (some meals provided) – Yes the program is heavily subsidised for you thanks to the funding from the National Innovation and Science Agenda!

Who can apply: Experienced and new science teachers at secondary and senior secondary schools across Australia

To secure your place, you just need to register here and pay the program fee. Once that is completed, you are in!

Further information: programs@nysf.edu.au

Help us celebrate our 35th year in 2018

The celebrations for the National Youth Science Forum’s (NYSF) 35th year in 2018 are well underway with many events planned to mark the occasion!

The festivities started at our Canberra Year 12 Program launch at The Australian National University (ANU) in November with a cake cutting and a heartfelt speech by an alumnus who attended our very first session in 1984, Professor Tim Senden, now the Director of the Research School of Physics and Engineering at the Australian National University (ANU).

This was quickly followed by our launch of Session B at The University of Queensland (UQ), attended by many alumni currently studying at UQ, where Provost Professor Aidan Byrne explained why he thought the NYSF would be a valuable addition to the UQ outreach programs. In 2018, two Year 12 Programs will be delivered in Canberra at the Australian National University (ANU) and a new third session in Brisbane at the University of Queensland (UQ).  Nearly 600 students will participate across the three sessions in 2018!

Our Science Teachers Program will also continue in 2018, with a session in Canberra at ANU and, for the first time, a second session also in Brisbane at UQ, catering for 80 teachers.  All of these NYSF programs are made possible through the hard work and dedication of many including our funding partners, 68 volunteer student staff, Rotary volunteers, guest speakers, lab visit providers, board members and corporate team – there are so many people involved to make the January Sessions come to fruition!

NYSF CEO Dr Damien Pearce said the 35th Anniversary looking forward to the NYSF’s 35th year celebrations.

“The 35th Anniversary celebrations allow us look at our past and reflect on the events and people who have helped shape the NYSF – from its days as the National Science Summer School (NSSS) – into the organisation it is today. It also allows us to look to our future, as we continue to evolve to meet the demands of the Australian community.”

“We encourage our alumni to participate in our events and activities and share their stories with the NYSF and other alumni. With over 11,000 alumni there are a lot of stories to tell,” Dr Pearce said.

The NYSF Year 12 Science Dinners are always a favourite event, and in 2018 we have three very distinguished and inspirational keynote speakers who have accepted the invitation to address the students.  The Session A Science Dinner keynote speaker is Professor Lyn Beazley AO FTSE, former Western Australia Chief Scientist, an eminent scientific innovator, communicator, educator, and neuroscientist. In Session B, 2017 Australian of the Year, Professor Emeritus Alan Mackay-Sim, a biomedical scientist specialising in adult stem cell research, will be speaking; and at the Session C Dinner we will hear from internationally acclaimed medical researcher and philanthropist Professor John Shine AO FAA. Professor Shine is the current CSL Chairman and was recently appointed as incoming President of the Australian Academy of Science.

And the line-up of amazing speakers will continue at our Rotary Alumni Evenings with Professor Liesl Folks, (Session A), Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University at Buffalo in New York state, and an internationally recognised expert in nanotechnology and magnetism. Liesl attended the very first NYSF/NSSS session in 1984. Volcanologist, Dr Rebecca Carey, NYSF 1997 Alumna (Session B) a Senior Lecturer at the University of Tasmania, and meteorologist, Nate Byrne, NYSF 2001 Alumnus (Session C), the weather presenter on ABC TV News Breakfast.

We encourage all our alumni to ‘Save The Date’ and join us to hear from these talented scientists.

STEM Speed-dating is happening again in all three sessions in January – two in Canberra and one in Brisbane.

Students have the opportunity to “work the room” and talk to a range of people who have studied a STEM field or work in STEM-related careers.

We would love to have you and some of your colleagues along to this event to talk to students about career paths in your area. To find out more or to register, please follow the link HERE

In addition we will be featuring the stories of some of our alumni with our 35 alumni over 35 years in 35 weeks social media campaign.  Follow the NYSF Facebook Page to read about their stories, and if you are an alumni with a story to share, please contact leonie@nysf.edu.au. Our alumni are our best ambassadors!

We’ve also kept the designers at Shirty Science busy creating a special edition 35th Anniversary T-shirt.  Keep an eye on our Facebook page to find out when they’ll be available for sale.

We hope you can help us celebrate this milestone in 2018. For further information about up-coming events follow us on social media.

Facebook – /NYSFoz

Twitter – /NYSFoz

Instagram – /nysfoz

LinkedIn – National Youth Science Forum

or email Leonie at leonie@nysf.edu.au.

A full house of Governors’ Receptions

Each year, September to November marks the season for Governors’ Receptions in the NYSF calendar. This year with almost 600 participants selected to attend the NYSF Year 12 Program next January, a significant proportion had the opportunity to attend a reception in their local state, to honour and celebrate their achievements of being selected to attend the NYSF, as well as acknowledging the extensive efforts of Rotary in selecting them.

In Victoria, Her Excellency, the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, and her team at Government House generously  extended invitations to all 150 plus Victorian-based students, along with two guests each. A number of Rotarians and NYSF Partners were also invited. To accommodate the total of more than 400 guests, the event was hosted in the ballroom – a truly spectacular space.

Emily Mannix, who will be attending Session C in Canberra, travelled from Bendigo to Melbourne to attend the event. Here is what she had to say:

The Victorian Governor’s Reception for NYSF 2018 students was an exciting event for all involved – this was the first opportunity to meet some of the lucky few attendees like ourselves. The Victorian Governor the Honourable Linda Dessau AC and her husband Anthony Howard met with students at the reception and after a few words of congratulation had the room buzzing with enthusiasm for what was to come.”

Next, on the other side of the country, it was time for the West Australian Governor’s Reception which was held by Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AC. This was a more intimate event for the students, giving more opportunity to get to know each other and have time to talk with the Her Excellency.

Alex Troung from Perth said, “The Western Australian Governor’s Reception was a magnificent event – we all were looking forward to attending and were not disappointed! It was amazing to hear from our Governor, Her Excellency, Kerry Sanderson, who both congratulated us and inspired us with her own journey in the field of science. The event was both warm and grand, and I loved meeting my fellow participants there!”

A week later we saw two events on the same day. In South Australia, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC and his wife, Mrs Le, hosted a delightful morning tea event where students and a parent/guardian had the opportunity to explore all corners of Government House. Around the same time in another part of the country, it was Tasmania’s turn with Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC hosting students, parents and Rotary members from the Rotary District 9830.

With no number too small, the next event to be held was in Darwin with the Administrator of the Northern Territory the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AM. Both of our Northern Territory based students were able to attend this very intimate event.

Later that week, it was off to Brisbane, Queensland for an afternoon tea hosted by His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC. Excitement was high for this event with the new session planned for Brisbane in January 2018 and a number of representatives from our partner the University of Queensland also in attendance.

Sadly, the final Governor’s Reception to be held at Government House in Sydney on the 9 November by His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC had to be cancelled at the last minute due to severe illness. Disappointing but very understandable.

The NYSF would like to thank sincerely each of the Governors for hosting our incoming students, along with their fabulous staff whose support is essential for the success of these events.

 

New STEM scholarship for rural and regional students

A new scholarship to support regional and remote students interest in studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields has been announced by the federal Department of Education and Training.

The Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarship aims to improve educational attainment, skills development, and employment opportunities for regional and remote students.

The program objectives are to:

  • increase the number of students engaging with STEM disciplines;
  • increase the number of students able to undertake their preferred course of STEM study irrespective of their location; and
  • increase program participants’ rate of course completion relative to their peers.

The scholarship will support at least 1200 undergraduate, postgraduate and Vocational Education and Training (VET) students to undertake a STEM qualification, including in the fields of health and agricultural science and will accommodate flexible study, including part-time and online students. Selection will be on the basis of need and merit and will support the participation of women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Scholarship recipients may receive total scholarship payment up to $18,000, based on course length and type of study or training with an additional $500 available to scholarship recipients to support an internship to assist students to develop their professional experience.

Funding for the program is $24 million between 2017-18 and 2020-21 and will be administered through two rounds of applications for the 2018 and 2019 academic years, each for at least 600 Scholarships.

If you’d like to know more about the scholarships and how to apply follow the link HERE

NYSF 2017 Shelterbox arrives in Syria

ShelterBox is an international disaster relief charity supplying emergency aid to people affected by disaster worldwide.  In partnership with Rotary, aid is generally supplied as a ShelterBox or ShelterKit that contains essential items that assist in turning shelter into a home.

In January 2017, NYSF raised over $1000 in January through the sale of snacks – enough for us to buy our own ShelterBox. (You can read our original article HERE.) Each box is given a unique tracking number so that its progress to the recipient family can be tracked.  And then … we waited.

Recently, we were advised that the NYSF 2017 ShelterBox has been delivered. It has travelled nearly 14,000 kilometres from Australia to Syria and has been dispatched to a family with young children.

The war in Syria is now in its sixth year and has resulted in thousands of families fleeing to safety. Ibrahim, his wife and three children (one of them disabled) now live in an emergency camp in Syria.

Shelterbox provided us with the following story about 43 year old Ibrahim and his family:

Before he moved to the camp, Ibrahim worked as a farmer, relying on seasonal farming to provide his family’s needs.

Ibrahim said, “The crisis caused the destruction of the infrastructure in Syria. My financial situation was very badly affected and I became unemployed as a result.

Living under the control of so-called Islamic State was very difficult, because of the fear and terror that dominated us in their presence.”

When asked about the journey from their hometown to the refugee camp, he said, “During the journey, we faced a lot of risks. We paid huge sums to the smugglers in order to reach a safe area, and we were robbed by bandits. My children were also hit by the harsh weather because of the high heat and burning sun.”

Ibrahim was asked about the most important thing he was lacking when he arrived at the camp. He said, “The one thing we needed when we arrived here was to get some shelter for my children so they could hide from the hot sun.”

“Fortunately, your organisation was distributing tents on the same day that we arrived. The distribution team was the one who noticed us first and they immediately recorded our data and set up a tent for us.”

He told us that the tent was now our property and they asked us to put our things in it, they were really good people.

Ibrahim added, “The tent has made us feel independent and safe after all the bad conditions we faced during the displacement. The main things we need now is fuel for heating in anticipation of winter cold, winter clothes for our children and some medicines.”

As an expression of his hopes for the future, Ibrahim said, “I hope that my children will live in dignity, and that they can make their children in the future live in better conditions than the conditions we have made them live in.”

The NYSF is pleased that our ShelterBox has helped a family in need.  It just goes to show that small things can make a huge difference in people’s lives.

If you would like to find out more about ShelterBox or how you can help follow the link https://www.shelterboxaustralia.com.au

A lesson in physics for the Governor-General

It’s not every day that you get to teach the Governor-General a lesson in physics … but that’s exactly what happened to one of our National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) alumni at Government House Open Day on the weekend.

Along with the other organisations of which the Governor-General is Patron, the NYSF was invited to participate in the Government House Open Day in Canberra in October last week.

National Youth Science Forum, STEM, Alumni, Government House Open Day

And the NYSF was honoured when the Governor-General, His Excellency, General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) and Mrs Lynne Cosgrove visited our stand to generate some hand-cranked electricity from the Van de Graaff generator, kindly loaned by the Australian National University’s Department of Quantum Science Physics Education Centre.

The Open Day is an annual event and the perfect spring weather led to record crowds lining up to gain a peek inside the spectacular Residence and explore the magnificent 54 hectares of gardens.

Our fabulous alumni volunteered to help out at the NYSF stand, talking to the public about their NYSF experience, sharing their passion for science, making NYSF badges with the visitors, and doing their own fair share of electricity generation with the Van de Graaff generator.

NYSF 2011 alumnus, Mitchell de Vries welcomed the Governor-General to our stand, giving His Excellency an impromptu physics lesson.

“It was such a lovely day for it (Open Day) and it was really refreshing to be meeting people from toddlers to seniors who were all as equally excited to learn about science.”

“Giving the Governor-General a crash course on the physics was also quite heartening, he was interested in understanding.”

Government House Open Day, NYSF Alumni, National Youth Science Forum

Isabel Beaumont, a 2017 NYSF alumna also volunteered at the NYSF stand.

“Helping out was a great opportunity to see Government House and meet our Governor-General. Volunteering for the NYSF, and being an alumni of the program, provides so many exciting opportunities such as this and I love being able to promote science to so many people. Volunteering for the NYSF allows you to meet many interesting people.”

The NYSF thanks His Excellency and Mrs Cosgrove, and the staff at Government House for inviting the NYSF to participate in the Open Day event, and the alumni for their support on the day: Mitchell de Vries, Vivienne Wells, Joe Kacsmarski, Jaslin O’Connell and Isabel Beaumont.

Alumna Kat Jackson is building her own road to success

NYSF 2001 Alumna Kat Jackson (formerly Kathryn Campbell) tells us about her journey from a small rural town in Central Victoria to working on motorway projects in Auckland, New Zealand.

Nobody in my family had ever been awarded a degree, and few graduates from my high school went to university. My parents were very supportive of me undertaking tertiary qualifications. It was always going to mean leaving home, as we lived rurally in central Victoria. I had a tough time at high school. Not academically, but I struggled to fit in and had no idea what I was going to do when it was over. Most of those that did further education, studied teaching or nursing – and I knew those were not the careers I wanted.

Spending two weeks living in Canberra at NYSF 2001 made me excited for my future, and gave me a goal to focus on through Year 12. At NYSF, I met “my people” and realised that STEM wasn’t just for other special smart people, it was for me!

I went on to study Civil Engineering at Monash University. During breaks and part-time during the years, I worked in engineering roles for various organisations. One favourite role was as an Education Officer for Melbourne Water – using science communication skills to explain wastewater treatment to everyone from 5 year olds to foreign industry experts.

After finishing my Honours degree, I was employed as a graduate engineer by FRH (now Fulton Hogan). Skill shortages in New Zealand meant that they paid me to move to Auckland to work on an exciting and innovative motorway project in 2008.

I have since worked on several large construction and operations projects, and am now employed by Downer. My science communication skills have set me apart in my career. For the last 5 years I have worked as a Quality Manager on large motorway projects in Auckland. Recently, I have devised several in-house construction training courses (focusing mainly on quality assurance) – these have been successful for people ranging from managers to labourers.

The lessons I took from NYSF weren’t all directly science-related. I learned how to confidently speak to greatly admired leaders and peers. I also learned how to engage effectively with people when we didn’t have much in common. Most importantly, I realised that even the best amongst us are always striving to be better still.

ANU graduates rated Australia’s most employable

ANU graduates have been rated the nation’s most employable (for the 5th year in a row!). ANU students get a well-rounded education that employers are looking for. They learn from the world’s leading minds and they get the chance to do fieldwork, internships and global travel.

ANU graduates have been ranked Australia’s most employable graduates and are among the most sought after employees worldwide. The latest Global Employability University ranking, published by the Times Higher Education, rated ANU as Australia’s top university for getting a job for the fifth consecutive year.

ANU is a world-leading university in Australia’s capital city, Canberra, a world-leading centre for research, education and policy engagement. ANU counts more Nobel Laureates among staff and alumni than any other Australian university (including our Vice Chancellor!).

At ANU, you’ll get a world class qualification and an educational experience to help you stand out in the jobs market, here and overseas. Our students get internship experience in places like the Australian Parliament, the Australian Academy of Science, CSIRO and Geoscience Australia (to name a few). ANU have a global outlook in which we strongly encourage students to seek international experiences as part of their education and develop leadership skills, it’s our students that make us among the top most employable universities in the world.

For further information on what makes ANU graduates so employable, click here.

What’s happening at the University of Melbourne? News and Updates from Parkville

COURSE INFORMATION DAY

Course Information Day is a great opportunity to hear first-hand what STEM related opportunities exist at the University of Melbourne. The event will run on Monday 18 December, where you can ask questions about our Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics courses and have a tour of our campus and residential colleges.

The University of Melbourne offers through its Melbourne Model, the opportunity to create your own study path in over 41 different areas of Science through our Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Biomedical Science degrees like in areas such as Biology, Chemistry, Animal Health and Disease Management, Physics and Physiology.

Register to attend our Course Information Day here!

THRIVING AMID THE RISE OF THE MACHINES

Since 1948, futurists have warned about the impact automation could have on the human workforce, and now those changes are becoming a reality. Does it mean a re-think about what jobs humans can do better than machines?

Technology is destroying jobs, says Dr Greg Adamson, an expert in the social impact of advanced technology. There can no longer be any doubt about that hard fact of life in the 21st Century. The process is now inevitable, as automation, robotics and artificial intelligence embeds deeper into our society.

But with robots and automation proliferating – and with traditional jobs disappearing – what opportunities are there for humans in this new age?

WHY CAN’T WE CURE CANCER?

After heart disease, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the world – 8.8 million people lost their lives to cancer in 2015.

A generation ago, one in three people in the developed world were diagnosed with cancer; in some countries it is now approaching one in two. Low- and middle-income countries are also severely affected – with the majority of cancer cases now presenting themselves in these countries.

Why despite the great strides in medical knowledge, does the world continue to struggle in finding a cure for cancer? This episode of The PolicyShop addresses this question with two world leading experts.

Nobel Laureate, Dr Harold Varmus, currently the Lewis Thomas University Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, who formally served as the Director of the National Institute of Health and as the Director of the National Cancer Institute in the United States and Associate Professor Sherene Loi, head of the Translational Breast Cancer Genomics Laboratory at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne join the host Professor Glyn Davis, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.

You can find the podcast on iTunes or listen on our website, here!

ETHICS IN SCIENCE EVENT

With the rapid advancement of science, ethical dilemmas arise frequently. These range from the use of embryonic stem cells or animals in research, deciding how much power to give robots and artificial intelligence, how far to go with clinical trials in humans or using modern technology to decide whether one should turn off the life support of someone in coma.

Though science is not infallible, it is essential that scientific research is pursued with integrity and transparency and to the highest possible standards. Scientists owe this dedication and honesty to their pursuit of truth and to the tax-payer who both funds and is the beneficiary of the research.

At this forum, five internationally renowned scientists working in different fields will address some of these ethical issues and answer questions from the floor.

This Q&A type session will be moderated by Bernie Hobbs from the ABC (The New Inventors).

Register to attend our Ethics in Science forum here!

WHAT COULD SUSTAINABLE AUSTRALIAN CITIES LOOK LIKE IN 2040?

It’s 2040.

As you wake and look outside, things might not look hugely different to 2017 – there aren’t any hoverboards or sky highways – but Australian cities have managed to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent.

And how your day unfolds will look very different depending on how we reached this point.

How can Australia meet its cities energy needs whilst also meeting the country’s clean energy targets?

Read more about this article here!