Students who attended the NYSF in 2013 will soon receive a survey request asking for feedback on the program twelve months down the track. When you receive the email, please complete the survey to let us know what you are up to.
(Updated) Dates for the NYSF 2014 Next Step programs are as follows:
Melbourne – 6-8 March 2014
Brisbane – 9-11 April 2014
Canberra – 15-17 April 2014
Hobart – 23-24 April 2014
Sydney – 2-4 July 2014
Perth – 16-18 July 2014
Next Step programs aim to promote our Partner organisations through laboratory and site visits in capital cities across Australia. Watch Facebook, emails and the NYSF online database for when registrations open for each program.
Applications for the 2014 International Program closed today, and already we can tell that we will be sending another high calibre group of Australian students to participate in the programs hosted by our overseas counterparts.
Successful selection for the program will be advised by telephone or email around the middle of March. Any inquiries please contact Sandra.firstname.lastname@example.org
Applications for January 2015 Session will open on 1 April 2014 and close on 31 May 2014.
If you know someone who might benefit from submitting an application, let them know these dates and visit www.nysf.edu.au for instructions on how to apply.
The NYSF is committed to exploring ways to support the ongoing engagement in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) of young Indigenous Australians.
Kiah Henderson, from Geraldton in Western Australia attended the NYSF Indigenous Program in Perth in October 2013, and was identified as a student who would benefit from coming to the national program.
With the generous support from CSL Ltd, Kiah was able to attend the January Session C in 2014.
Dr Adele Holloway attended the NYSF in 1998. She attained a PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Tasmania, and has followed a career in research ever since, working at the Hanson Centre for Cancer Research in South Australia and the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University. Her research has mainly focused on understanding how genes are regulated in the immune system or in cancer. In 2002 Adele returned to the University of Tasmania, taking up a lectureship in UTas’ School of Medicine, where she combines teaching undergraduate students and co-ordinating the Bachelor of Medical Research degree in the School of Medicine with leading a research group in the Menzies Research Institute.
It was great to see the enthusiasm for science
In 2014 things came full circle with Adele returning to the NYSF in Canberra for Partners’ Day to talk to participants about the programs offered through the Faculty of Health at the University of Tasmania.
“Coming back to NYSF brought back memories of how it opened a window for me into all the possibilities and opportunities available through science. It was great to see the enthusiasm for science of the current NYSF participants and that is also one of the most rewarding things about teaching undergraduate students at UTAS.”
Three Partners’ Day mini-conferences were held during the January Sessions, offering a valuable opportunity for NYSF Partners and Supporters to present information to each of the Sessions’ students. These days have very full programs with speakers presenting about their careers, organisations and fields of enterprise. Further opportunity was provided for students to talk with the presenters at the Expo Session held in the afternoon of each Partners’ Day, as well as at the Science Dinner held that evening.
Dr Alison Edwards, from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, has hosted NYSF students on site at ANSTO as part of the Sydney Next Step program, and presented to the 2014 Session C cohort of students.
“This is my favourite thing to do as outreach for my employer,” says Dr Edwards. ”The NYSF is the single best way you have to showcase your organisation to engaged senior high school students across the country.”
For information on becoming an NYSF Partner or Supporter, contact Amanda Caldwell.
The Chief Scientist for Australia, Professor Ian Chubb AC, spoke to students at the Opening Ceremony of Session C, about his own career, illustrating that a fulfilling and stellar career can come from the humble beginnings of playing soccer with your dog in the back yard; and that hard work will pay off. He also spoke about the intersection between science literacy and policy development, and the need for quality advice at the highest level.
In Perth, recently retired Chief Scientist of Western Australia, Professor Lyn Beazley, warmly welcomed the students, her enthusiasm and encouragement staying with them throughout the program.
Hamish Jolly, from Shark Mitigation Systems, spoke about the process of commercialising research into an innovative wetsuit design with the University of Western Australia. He highlighted the importance of scientists understanding the role of the entrepreneur in translating research to market – and that while blue sky research is important, so is commercialising products to meet a market and community need. Scientists have a role to play in each part of that process and indeed, the scientist could also be the entrepreneur.
Dr Erica Sloan, echoed Mr Jolly’s view. Erica is an NYSF alumna and former student staff member, and now has a very successful career as a leading cancer researcher at Monash University and the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Science. The occasion of her address at the Session C Rotary Dinner was featured in The Australian newspaper’s online edition.
Professor Terry Speed and Professor Angela Moles, both winners of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Science in 2013, spoke with passion about their journeys to conducting world-leading research and the challenges affecting their careers including the need for professional and sometimes personal reinvention.
Dr Matt Wenham is an NYSF alumnus and former student staff leader who addressed the Rotary Dinner (Session A). As well as outlining his study, research and career paths to date, he emphasised the importance of science literacy in policy-making and its impact on the wider community.
Former NYSF student Kirsten Gottschalk, an Outreach and Education Officer at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Perth accompanied the students on their visit there. Because of her NYSF experience, she understood the level of knowledge the students could access, resulting in an engaging and informative visit. Kirsten was also the Guest Speaker at the Session B 2014 Closing/Continuing Ceremony.
At Geoscience Australia the students engaged in mini-research projects run by practising geoscientists (some of whom are former NYSF students). They tackled a problem involving the discovery of underground potable water, which included different research methodologies. At the conclusion of the lab visit the students shared their findings with their peers and scientists. The exercise gave the students a good feel for the multidisciplinary nature of geoscience.
The Alcoa Huntly Mine site provided environmental science students with an in-depth tour exploring Alcoa’s two stages of interaction with areas of concentrated bauxite, firstly mining and extraction, and then long-term rehabilitation. Touring both current open mine sites, participating in a number of presentations and speaking with geologists and environmental scientists, as well as a practical lesson in botanical data collection, the students were exposed to opportunities in their field of interest.
The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) in Western Australia operates from the largest RAN base, HMAS Stirling, south of Perth, and is the base for the ANZAC Class frigates and Collins Class submarines. The recently retired Chief Scientist of Western Australia, Professor Lyn Beazley, accompanied students on their site tour. The students gained an appreciation of the size and complexity of Navy operations including seeing vessels in port. At this DSTO site, where much of the focus is on submarine operations, they joined professional scientists in using computer simulations to design control rooms in submarines, explored issues such as resonance and noise transmission when submerged, and ways of reducing fatigue and stress for staff operating complex electronic equipment in limited spaces. This site visit was a very unique opportunity designed for NYSF students.
The ACCIONA Windfarm at Gunning saw students accompanied on their visit by the NSW Minister for Primary Industries and Small Business and member for Burrinjuck Katrina Hodgkinson. Upon invitation from the students, Katrina briefly spoke about the importance of public policy being informed by research particularly in applied areas of science. She also discussed the associated challenges within her electorate involving salinity, natural disasters and sustainability. After this honest discussion Katrina joined the students on a fact-finding tour to explore wind generation of energy.
The Australian National University hosted many groups in different laboratories. One was a task facilitated by Engineers Without Borders, in which students had to design a water filtration system using very basic tools and resources.
Additional visits to Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) and the University of New South Wales School of Engineering provided students with tasks involving the measure of airflow over different surfaces, and learning about recent research on hypersonic flight.
At the Australian Academy of Science’s Shine Dome, Dr Bill Lott (Queensland University of Technology) and Dr Katherine Daniell (ANU) combined their respective academic backgrounds to present the Science and Popular Culture Forum. Interacting with the students, Bill and Katherine delved into the space where science, politics and popular culture collide. This forum was facilitated through the perspective of whether there is “iconic science” in Australia. The discussion concluded with the students agreeing that the profile of science in Australian schools needs to be elevated and opportunities in science promoted with inclusivity.
Dr Sue Meek from the Academy of Science also presented to the students about the role of the Academy in Australian science, and explained the history of the iconic building.
The three January sessions of the 2014 National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) are behind us, with 440 Australian and International students back at home, full of new knowledge, experiences, ideas and friendships for future study and career options within science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The highlights of this year’s January Sessions are covered within this edition of NYSF Outlook, however I would like to acknowledge the active participation of the students and our student staff members. Their engagement in the whole twelve days of the program is what makes it a success, and this year was no exception.
Our access to leading research and industrial facilities is … what helps to make the NYSF special.
It is also important to acknowledge the ongoing help from the many organisations that support the NYSF by facilitating and hosting lab and site visits , as well as other activities. Our access to leading research and industrial facilities is often unique, and again, is what helps to make the NYSF special.
And finally, we must acknowledge the financial and logistical support of all of our Partners and Sponsors, which allows us to continue this valuable program year in and year out.
I would like to extend a particular thank you to Stuart McKelvie, Caroline Leach and Tayla McKechnie who were the Chiefs of Staff (P1) for the respective sessions. This role is pivotal to the success of each session and their efforts leading the student staff team into, and during the January NYSF sessions cannot be over stated.
A common question at this time of year is ,“When do you break out the banana lounges?” But despite popular opinion, the NYSF Office does not go into hibernation in February. Currently we are planning the Rotary District Chairs Conference where we brief our Rotary partners on the program and its latest developments and hear first hand about their members’ experiences of the program; and we are evaluating the 2014 January Sessions; we are planning for the Next Step Programs which run in school holidays through from March to July; and the Student Staff Leadership Workshop, which will be delivered before the end of July.
Additionally we are also in full swing with the organisation and selection of students for the International Program; and preliminary planning is underway for the 2015 NYSF and the National Science Teachers Summer School (NSTSS).
So while the 2014 January Sessions are behind us, we’re always planning for the next cohort of young people to come and take part in the National Youth Science Forum and show them things they’ve never considered.