Let’s Hear it for the Communications Interns at NYSF 2017!

Every year, the NYSF offers places for alumni to return as volunteer Communications Interns. The role is fairly wide-ranging – to attend various program activities, and report on what occurs during the NYSF, filing stories for the NYSF Outlook blog.

Our NYSF 2017 interns provided an overview of their experience in January:

Jackson Nexhip

Returning to the NYSF triggered some strange emotions; something akin to returning home.

On the surface it seemed as though it should have been an entirely different experience; I was a few years older, I was in Canberra this time rather than Perth, and was returning somewhat as staff rather than student. But despite the differences, the NYSF spirit was alive and well.

You learn so much at the NYSF that you can almost feel your mind expanding. Just like in 2013, the presentations and institution visits were of an extremely high calibre – it was humbling and inspiring to be so out of my depth in so many different fields.

The intellectual side was great, but I think the best part was the opportunity to hang around with and get to know the NYSF 2017 students. I think that as the years go on you lose sense of the impact the NYSF can have, and having the chance to chat and get to know the students brought back all kinds of nostalgia.

I really admired the energy, curiosity, and sheer determination of some of the students, and it left me feeling somewhat inspired to go and do bigger things in my own life. It’s a huge privilege to meet these young scientists and future leaders, and I look forward to seeing them do all kinds of crazy things as the years roll on.

The media intern position is a sweet gig, and I’d highly recommend it for any students with an interest in writing and/or science communication (I don’t think I need mention the longing to return to the NYSF). The media team are very supportive, you’ll have a lot of fun, and you’ll learn a lot.

Daniel Lawson

“Writing about the NYSF experience was an amazing opportunity and I’d definitely recommend it to any NYSF alumni interested in science communication and science education. Most of all, attending the NYSF 2017 as a communications intern confirmed my confidence in the future of Australian science. To see 200 young scientists build lifelong friendships reminded me of my own session, and I realised that although the names and faces had changed, the students’ attitudes and passion for science had remained just as strong.

Being a communications intern also gave me a unique perspective on the NYSF, as I was able to chat with students and academics about their interests and goals in science, I was also able to observe how being there changed the students. When you attend the NYSF, the experiences and moments you share with 200 other passionate science students changes you. Personally, I didn’t realise this until my local Rotary club of Murgon mentioned how much more confident I was after attending the NYSF. It was an amazing opportunity to be able to witness these transformations in students at the NYSF 2017 as they grew into (more) confident young scientists.

Megan Stegeman

The NYSF science communications internship was an amazing two weeks. Being back at the NYSF was exciting enough, but witnessing how it is organised, and the amazing work that went on behind the scenes, gave a real appreciation for my own session.

My own NYSF experience meant that I understood and knew what to expect in the program, which I think is an advantage when trying to work in such an exciting and (as all alumni remember) unique environment. The work was fun, going to lab sessions and lectures and writing them up, and the environment was supportive and friendly. I was encouraged to take lots of photos, and especially to develop my own style of writing, which I’m sure is not common across all internships.

Watching the participants learn new things, and witnessing some of them in their first professional labs was rewarding in itself. I saw students in a pathology lab use the mechanical pipette for the first time, and it occurred to me that that participant could go on to be a great scientist, and it was here that they got their first lessons.

I would recommend this internship to anyone and everyone, I think it’s an amazing opportunity, that I hope others will realise and take advantage of as well.

Veronica O’Mara

Coming back to the NYSF as a Communications Intern in January 2017 was a wonderful experience. It was incredibly useful hearing similar things to what I heard three years ago but without the HSC looming over my head. Coming back reaffirmed my decision to study science and major in genetics and molecular biology and made me much more sure of my choices and of myself.

My favourite event on session was the Science Dinner with Professor Emma Johnston’s address. It was incredibly encouraging as a woman studying in STEM and definitely demonstrated to me that many people such as Professor Johnston who have achieved incredible things and are doing so well in their chosen field still have doubted their ability in themselves. I think this was definitely something that also resonated with the participants, leaving them with an important message, “To believe in those who believe in you,” when you are doubting yourself.

Being an NYSF Communications Intern provided us with a unique opportunity to experience the NYSF again as well as to gain some valuable skills in science communication. It was wonderful to be given a lot of freedom in our writing styles and what and how we wanted to record the session.

It gave me a chance to develop my communication skills which is extremely important in any career in STEM. Without good communication skills, there is little point in research. You have to be able to effectively communicate your ideas to others in an accessible way.

My experience at the NYSF this year has definitely shown me that studying a science degree was the right path and reaffirmed my goal of completing a PhD in medical research, but has also opened up more possibilities in science communication and outreach.

If you are an NYSF alumni and would like to register your interest in returning to the NYSF in 2018, where there will be six positions on offer, email communications@nysf.edu.au

Awards & Recognition: NYSF Alumni in the News

Here at the NYSF we love to see all of our NYSF Alumni following their passion in their studies, careers and communities. It’s also fantastic when they are formally recognised for their hard work and over the past months a number of NYSF Alumni have been recognised with formal awards and scholarships.

Simon McKenzie (NYSF Alumnus 2010), who is currently completing his PhD with the ANU in the field of computational chemistry, has received a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship aimed at supporting exceptional students pursuing post-graduate study. The scholarship includes a nine-month leadership development program as well as an international experience for up to six months.

Jasmine Elliot — NYSF 2017 Alumna

Several former NYSF participants have received Young Citizen of the Year awards in their respective regions. Jasmine Elliot, who completed the program this January, has been named Young Citizen of the Year by the Gladstone Regional Council at the Australia Day awards ceremony on the 25th of January. Jasmine is involved in several groups including the Gladstone Region Youth Council and the Headspace Youth Reference Group. She is also nominated for another award in the Access Community Services and Multicultural Youth Queensland Cultural Diversity Awards which will be announced on May 5th.

Within his own region, Phillip Johnson (NYSF Alumnus 2013) was named Young Citizen of the Year by the Newcastle City Council. This is thanks to his advocacy for students on a range of different issues. Phil currently attends the University of Newcastle, studying Civil Engineering, where he has taken on the role of Student Association President.

Katie Rae (NYSF Alumna 2014), who is an active member of the Toowoomba Guiding Community, has also been honoured with the Young Citizen of the Year award within her own region. And in the region of Cowra, it was Maddison Johnson (NYSF Alumna 2016) who took out the same award owing to her representation of Cowra at several local, state and international events. Maddison has been an active Youth Council member for the past 3 years, was lucky enough to be chosen as one of just six Australians to attend the United Nations Global Youth Leadership Forum held in the United States and was the Lions Youth of the Year and Youth Peace Ambassador in 2016.

Olivia Flower — NYSF 2016 Alumna

Ben Kenworthy (NYSF Alumnus 2016) is one of 14 year 12 students featured in an ABC TV documentary, My Year 12 Life. The program follows the 14 students through their year 12 at high school via a video diary. Insightful and informative, you can catch it through the various ABC TV platforms.

Olivia Flower (NYSF Alumna 2016 and student staff leader 2017) was awarded the Ken Ward Memorial Scholarship in herhome community of Freshwater in Sydney’s northern suburbs. The scholarship goes towards her university costs and recognises Olivia’s academic achievement, leadership, community service, charitable and voluntary work, and sporting prowess.

We would like to congratulate all of these alumni for their outstanding achievements.

Ecolinc Victoria’s Emerging STEM for Women — Speed-Daters Needed

The Ecolinc Science and Technology Centre is running another Emerging STEM for Women event on Wednesday 14 June, at their centre in Bacchus Marsh in Melbourne.

The event is already fully booked with ca 90 year 9 and 10 students coming to hear about a range of study and employment opportunities in STEM. A key element of the day is the speed-date event, which runs from 1-2pm. You will meet with a small group of students for about 10 minutes at a time, talking about your study and work experiences before the group rotates off to the “next speed-dater”.

The key-note speaker on this occasion is Colleen Filippa, one of two Victorian women who are involved in the Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica. Homeward Bound is a women’s leadership and climate change research project, in which NYSF alumna Sandra Kerbler is also a participant.

Several NYSF alumna helped out at the Ecolinc event in October last year. Ideally, you will have  tertiary study and work experiences to share.

Ecolinc director Linda Flynn says, “The success of the day is attributed to the many women who are prepared to share their stories with these girls and we truly appreciate the volunteers’ time on the day.  In appreciation, we always provide a yummy lunch prior to the ‘speed dating’ session!”

If you can help out as a speed-dater on 14 June, please contact Linda at ecolinc@edumail.vic.gov.au, and let her know you are an NYSF alumna!

The Australian National University: News Update

ANU Rated in the Top 10 International Universities

The Times Higher Education world university rankings judge world class universities across their teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. Being ranked seventh in the world reflects the universities commitment to conduct research on a global scale and to provide our students with global opportunities.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Marnie Hughes Warrington said, “At the heart of our mission is the commitment to ensure an ANU education gives our graduate’s qualifications that can help them with their careers anywhere in the world.”

Many of our science students also benefit from this global perspective, and high international ranking, by pursuing global opportunities either through one of our many exchange programs or by conducting study on one of our overseas fieldwork trips.

To find out more about our programs and global opportunities, click here.

News from the University of Queensland

Here are two of the University of Queensland latest projects…

Food Lab by Ben Milbourne

UQ is working with 2012 MasterChef finalist Ben Milbourne to produce an online series of food science resources that align with Australia’s STEM Strategy 2025 initiative and the national science curriculum.

Each episode of Food Lab by Ben Milbourne will be accompanied by supporting material and resources for teachers and students including lesson plans, student activities, experiments, investigations, discussion topics and research tasks. You can register your interest in receiving these materials at www.uq.edu.au/bens-food-lab/eform/submit/uqform-learning-resources.

Food Lab by Ben Milbourne premiered on Channel 10 on Saturday 4 February 2017. With help from some of UQ’s most engaging teachers and researchers, Ben will explain and demonstrate common scientific principles in a way that’s fun and easy to understand — through cooking! You can catch up on all episodes at www.uq.edu.au/bens-food-lab/watch-episodes

QUERY101x Question Everything: Scientific Thinking in Real Life

This is the first MOOC of its kind in Australia, designed for high school students by high school teachers, working in partnership with UQ. Do you want to know how you can apply math and science skills to real life? This course will advance your knowledge and spark enthusiasm for further study of STEM subjects. Find out more and enrol.

Australian Academy of Science: Upcoming Events

Polymers in a Material World

Take a journey with the Australian Academy of Science and see how science has twisted and warped what was once the stuff of make-believe to give us the polymers and plastics that now shape our world.

The first in our two part series is all about polymers. This talk explores the use of plastics and polymer materials to build everyday products, engineer innovative solutions, and create emerging technologies. From solar cells to shatter proof mirrors, to water purification or inherently conducting polymers equivalent to metal, plastic is propelling us into the future at an astounding pace.

Our scholars will begin at the beginning, to tell you the tale of how polymers were developed, how they’ve helped us in the past, and what’s yet in store.

Tuesday 28th February 2017 — Melbourne — Click here for tickets
Time: 6:00 to 7:45pm
Venue: Melbourne Museum
Promotional Code: NYSF_MELB — for a free ticket!

Thursday 2nd March 2017 — Sydney — Click here for tickets
Time: 6:00 to 7:45pm
Venue: Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Promotional Code: NYSF_SYD — for a free ticket!

Further events will be held in Wollongong, Brisbane and Adelaide later in the year.