NZ science program a positive experience

Emily Mason from Port Macquarie in New South Wales was one of six Australian NYSF students selected to attend the National Science and Technology Forum that runs in Auckland, New Zealand in January. Her participation was partly supported by IBM’s Diversity and Inclusion program.

Emily says that she really enjoyed how the NZ forum explored so many aspects of science and technology. “It opened my eyes to the many doors available not just in science, but also technological and engineering career paths.”

The program covered a range of lab visits including psychology, physics, food science and microbiology, molecular biology, geology and astronomy, as well as visits to local businesses to explore and learn about the kinds of jobs available.

Emily Mason 1


“My first visit was to the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR). This was a very interesting lecture, as we were taught about the amazing facility, what their role is and chemical techniques used in the forensic examination of evidence samples. Later that week I visited the New Zealand Police, where we spent the evening in the fingerprinting department. They taught us how they collect and analyse fingerprints. This was very hands on, as we were able to take our own fingerprints and keep them. My last technical options visit was to Heavy Engineering Research Association (HERA). They taught us how to measure the amount of stress on a particular component of structures. They then showed us how they have developed ways to create lightweight, earthquake resistant walls.”

Emily says the forum was a great opportunity to learn how to be independent. It also cemented her commitment to studying medicine after high school. “The forum has opened my eyes up to the opportunities I have once I finish studying Medicine. It showed me that I don’t just have to become a GP, but that I can go into research or some very interesting specialties. I was also shown that I could go into very interesting areas if I paired it with another degree, such as engineering. It opened many doors and I am incredibly thankful for having the opportunity. “

Still the clever country?

Professionals Australia launched the Still the Clever Country? campaign at the Australian Academy of Science’s Shine Dome with Professor Ian Chubb delivering the keynote address.

The campaign presents two significant reports and a series of fact sheets on the issues that face the future of science in Australia.

Still the Clever Country is the result of a survey conducted of over 500 of its scientist members to tackle the barriers to productivity improvements and innovation through science and R&D. It provides valuable insights from those experienced in their fields.

Sister publication, Realising Innovation through Science and R&D provides a blueprint for dealing with workplace and structural issues in science with recommendations for government and industry.

Key recommendations coming from the reports suggests that Australia needs to invest in the science and R&D workforce, deal with deprofessionalisation, enhance Australia’s STEM capabilities, encourage effective reward and recognition strategies and address workforce developments

Furthermore, the report suggests that attracting the next generation of scientists is crucial. The survey found, that seventy-six per cent of Australian scientists were concerned about how science could attract the next generation and ranked this as a second only to funding concerns.

For students looking to enter the workforce, it means fewer entry-level graduate and internship opportunities.

In Professor Chubb’s address, he noted that maintaining our status as a clever country is fundamental to our economic sustainability as well as ensuring a fair and just future for Australia. Professor Chubb also described the progress towards a strategic approach to Australian science policy further to the recommendations set out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Australia’s Future

Professionals Australia CEO Chris Walton highlighted the need to not only invest in STEM education but the STEM workforce with a focus on education and training offering workers career pathways, not just skills for initial jobs, and emphasised the need for ongoing investment in the science capability of the workforce rather than deprofessionalisation.

To read the full reports, visit the campaign website.

NSW alumni engaged in science outreach

In March, Erin Prince and Shivani Shah, NYSF alumni in Sydney, participated in a workshop hosted by Inspiring Australia’s NSW office.  The workshop aimed to inform NSW-based stakeholders in science outreach about the support available through Inspiring Australia for activities that could be held as part of National Science Week (15-23 August).

Erin says that the first part of the meeting discussed the most recent report from the Australian Industry Group, Progressing STEM Skills. This report has identified that Australia’s performance in STEM disciplines is not “keeping pace with the needs of the economy”. However, the need for these skills in our workforce continues to grow. There was much discussion about the challenges of encouraging students to continue science education all through their schooling and on to a tertiary level. Erin says that as an NYSF student, this was quite confronting as science had been one of her passions at school.

The importance of improving communication and collaboration among all of the science education outreach organisations as well as increasing collaboration between research providers and industry was also discussed, so that there are pathways for STEM students into careers.  “Investing in the NYSF is one way companies could do this, as NYSF students are already interested in STEM careers. I remember learning about the possible jobs available in the various companies that are partners in the NYSF during my session.”

As a result of attending the workshop, Erin and Shivani are both keen to look at how the NSW NYSF alumni could get involved in National Science Week, perhaps through organising a meet up of past students.  Anyone interested in helping out can contact them via the NYSF at

Check the Inspiring Australia NSW website for information about accessing funding for Science Week activities.

University of Queensland News

SPARQ-ed Senior Secondary Student Workshops at The University of Queensland
Experience authentic cell and molecular biology techniques at the TRI, Brisbane’s newest medical research institute. Topics include DNA Restriction and Electrophoresis, PCR, Mini-Preps, Making Mitosis Movies and Immunofluorescence.
Contact Peter Darben Phone (07) 34436920 Email Web

You’re invited to UQ’s Pharmacy Experience Day – Sunday 23 August
You are invited to Pharmacy Experience Day at PACE (Woolloongabba). Come along and experience a day in the life of a UQ Pharmacy student, participate in a range of hands-on activities, explore the state-of-the-art facility and meet staff and students. Contact Emma Mackenzie Phone (07) 3346 3033 Email Web

Interaction Design Exhibit – Wednesday, 3 June 2015
Experience the latest technology projects at the UQ Interaction Design Exhibit!
The exhibition gives you the opportunity to meet the new generation of Interaction Designers and discover the latest physical computing projects from UQ’s Multimedia and Interaction Design students.
Date: Wednesday, 3 June 2015 Time: School groups: 12pm – 5pm: Industry and public: 5pm – 7pm Venue: The Edge, State Library of Queensland Contact Helen Burdon Phone (07) 3365 2382 Email Web

2015 Young ICT Explorers – register now!
Proudly supported by UQ’s Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology, Young ICT Explorers is a free School Technology Challenge for year 3 – 12 students. It’s an opportunity for students to create and showcase innovative Information and Communications Technology related projects. The Challenge aims to inspire and encourage school students to be more involved in developing ICT projects.
Contact Helen Burdon Phone (07) 3365 2382 Email Web

Experience Science – register now
School groups or individual students can register now for UQ’s Experience Science in July 2015.
Experience Science is a free event which provides students in years 10 – 12 the opportunity to discover what studying science is like at UQ and how science is applied in industry and everyday life. The event is facilitated by experts from UQ and industry through a series of hands-on, interactive science workshops.
Places are filling fast, so register now.

Geography and Environment Day
Geography Day is a great opportunity for students in Years 10-12 to experience the practical applications and relevance of geography, planning and environmental management and to see how studying these disciplines can lead to a career with real world impact. Students will attend interactive presentations hosted by current UQ students and graduates from industry, hands-on workshops and lectures from our world-class academics on a variety of topics.
For information, contact: Aimee Parker Phone: (07) 3346 1629 Email:

2015 Key Dates
You are invited to experience UQ at these on-campus events in 2015:
Careers that Shape the World – Wednesday 15 July
St Lucia Open Day – Sunday 2 August
Gatton Campus Open Day – Sunday 16 August
OP Results Advice Night – Monday 21 December
For information, contact:  UQ School Liaison team
Phone: (07) 3346 9649  Email:

ANU is on the road, come and talk to us about studying science

If you’re interested in studying science at university The Australian National University (ANU) will be at the following major career expos during May. We will have students and staff available to talk to you about our programs and uni life at ANU. For more information visit

University Information sessions on location

ANU Information sessions on location

4 May               Young Careers Expo                             Young Town Hall, Young

7-10 May           The VCE and Careers Expo                   Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne

12-13 May         Illawarra Credit Union Careers Expo        Illawarra Credit Union Sports Stadium, Unanderra

14-17 May         Careers & Education Expo                     Perth Convention Exhibition Centre, Perth

28-31 May         The HSC and Careers Expo                   Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park, Sydney

NYSF Student Staff Leaders for 2016

The NYSF is delighted to announce that the Student Staff Leaders (Chiefs of Staff) for 2016 are Brett Slarks from Mt Gambier in South Australia, who will lead Session A, and Meg Trinder-McCartney from Princess Hill in Victoria will lead Session C.

When Meg heard of her appointment she said, “Being given the opportunity to continue my engagement with this incredible program is both a thrill and an honour. So many of my current aspirations, skills and insights have been gained through my previous involvement with the NYSF, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to contribute these to the formation of a truly phenomenal 2016 program!”

Meg Trinder-McCartney

For Brett, “Since 2011, the NYSF has been integral in assisting me with my career pathway in science, developing personal attributes, and expanding my network within the Australian scientific community. Every time I have returned to participate in the NYSF January sessions, I have always gained far more than I could possibly contribute back. The NYSF is a unique program, and I am truly honoured to have been asked to return as the Chief of Staff for the 2016 January Session A Program. I look forward to the journey ahead, guiding the student staff for 2016, and in assisting the next generation of eager Year 12 students find and expand their interest within the STEM fields.”

Brett Slarks

Brett Slarks

Congratulations to them both.

NYSF students visit 2015 Graeme Clark Oration

National Youth Science Forum alumni Kellie Wilson, Hayley Houston and Caitlin Minney attended the 2015 Graeme Clark Oration held at the Melbourne Convention Centre on 10 March 2015.

For Kellie, “It was an absolute pleasure to attend as a representative of the National Youth Science Forum and St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School in Warragul. The Oration is one of Victoria’s most prestigious public science events with fifty schools from around the state present at the proceedings,” she said.

Australian scientist, Professor Graeme Clark whose research led to the development of the Bionic Ear, founded the event and also spoke at the Oration. Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Prize Laureate, President of the Royal Society and Director of the Francis Crick Institute in London was the guest speaker at this year’s event.

Kellie Wilson with Professor Graeme Clark

Kellie Wilson with Professor Graeme Clark

Hayley and Caitlin recall Sir Paul talking of his humble beginnings and stressed the importance of perseverance and curiosity not only in science but also in all aspects of life. “Regardless of your upbringing, if you are determined to create opportunities for yourself, you can be successful in science,” he said.

Sir Paul’s presentation on Controlling How Cells Reproduce, focused on the scientific breakthrough that led to him being awarded the Nobel Prize and being responsible for placing the world one step closer to finding a cure for cancer.

Kellie Wilson with Sir Paul Nurse

Kellie Wilson with Sir Paul Nurse

Maffra Secondary College in Victoria was awarded the Graeme Clark Science Award in recognition of their innovative school science program that works to promote science within their community.

After the event Kellie was fortunate to talk further with the guest speakers about their research and their opinion of Australian science. “I cannot express the sheer value of having such events available to the public. I urge all who are interested in science to attend the 2016 Oration as the event not only serves to heighten one’s knowledge but it also acts as a spark of inspiration to the scientists of the future.”

The University of Melbourne, a partner of the National Youth Science Forum, is a major sponsor of the Graeme Clark Oration.

Cochlear, the company founded as a result of Professor Clark’s research, is also a funding partner of the National Youth Science Forum.

Students attend Graeme Clark Oration

Students attend Graeme Clark Oration

Further information is available at

“It’s fantastic that a PhD in science will be recognised internationally…”

As Danika Hill headed off to the National Youth Science Forum in January 2004, she knew she loved science and was enjoying studying chemistry and physics at high school. “I was fascinated by medical research, but was unsure about selecting it as a career because I hadn’t studied biology at school.”

Danika Hill WEHI

Danika Hill at Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI)

Attending lab visits during the NYSF to institutions such as the John Curtin School of Medical Research at ANU solidified her decision to pursue a career in medical research. “Many Australian universities offered several types of science degrees such as Laboratory Medicine, Molecular Drug Design, Biomedical Science etc. but I wasn’t sure which one was for me. It was through attending NYSF that I was given the advice to choose a Bachelor of Science, and to try out many different science subjects that were on offer.”

“It was through attending NYSF that I was given the advice to choose a Bachelor of Science, and to try out many different science subjects that were on offer.”


In 2005, Danika embarked on a Bachelor of Science through the University of Adelaide. She studied several different subjects from zoology, astronomy, and psychology to political science. However, she found a passion for Genetics and Immunology. In 2008, she went on to complete an Honours Degree in Immunology through the University of Adelaide, studying stem cell development.

“After 4 years of solid undergraduate study, I decided I needed a break before embarking on a PhD. I worked as a research scientist on Regulatory T cells, which are cells that prevent the immune system from causing damage to the body during infection. In 2010 I took a break from science to backpack around Latin America. It was during volunteer work in the Bolivian Rainforest that I met locals who had grown up with malaria. They told of how horrible it was to catch malaria over and over again when they were children. Intriguingly, as adults they were struck down with malaria less often and had developed resistance to the disease.”

On returning to Australia, Danika embarked on a PhD through the University of Melbourne to study malaria at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research. “My research focuses on trying to understand what the immune system needs to do to defeat malaria. The malaria parasite is very complex and over time, it evolved to avoid detection in the immune system. This is why people living in areas with malaria can catch the parasite numerous times before their bodies are able to fight off the disease. If we can discover what the immune system needs to do to fight off malaria then this will help malaria vaccine development.” Danika travelled to malaria endemic areas of Papua New Guinea and Thailand to conduct research for her PhD.

A career in medical research is truly international. She travels internationally to present her work, and collaborate with scientists from around the world. “It’s fantastic that a PhD in science will be recognised internationally and enables me to seek out research overseas.” Danika will complete her PhD in 2015, and then continue her research into the immune system in Europe.

New resources for school science education

The Australian Academy of Science’s two school education programs, Science by Doing and Primary Connections, have launched new interactive resources aimed at supporting teachers to lead inquiry-based science education in the classroom.

Three new Primary Connections units cover science material suitable from foundation to Year 4 and include a free downloadable PDF, assessment rubrics and new and improved introductory sections.


Three new interactive teaching resources, including two which are already available for purchase on the Primary Connections website, are designed to be used on interactive whiteboards or computers.

More information about the new units, professional development and other resources is available at the Primary Connections website.

Science by Doing is a comprehensive online science program for Years 7 to 10 available free to all Australian students and teachers and supported by award winning professional learning modules and a research based professional learning approach.

The program provides a practical way of implementing the Australian Curriculum: Science.

Science by Doing recently launched a number of new curriculum resources and has begun its program of professional development. For more information visit the Science by Doing website.