From the CEO – the year in review

As selections for the NYSF 2018 Year 12 Program are finalised in communities all over the country, I can report that the NYSF is tracking well as we head into our 35th year of program delivery, making a difference in the lives of so many young Australians who love science.

In my sixth year as the CEO of the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF), I am very proud to to report that the NYSF’s suite of outreach programs was again delivered successfully in the past financial year. The feedback we received from last year indicated a broad sense of satisfaction with the programs we are offering to our wide range of participants – year 12 students, teachers, alumni, and just outside of the 2016-2017 reporting period – year seven and eight students. As always, we will continue to use this feedback to support our continuous improvement paradigm for upcoming programs. 

Reflecting the strategic direction of the organisation over the past financial year we have welcomed five new staff members to the corporate team – effectively doubling our resources. These new members have complemented the expertise of our existing team and boosted our capability within communications, marketing, program development, and delivery. With these new colleagues, we now have a team of 10 FTE.

The receipt of significant funding from the Australian Government through the National Science and Innovation Agenda has assisted in the continued development of NYSF’s Year 12 Programs and the National Science Teachers Summer School, which will also be delivered in both Canberra at The Australian National University (ANU) and Brisbane at The University of Queensland (UQ) in January 2018. The Year 12 Program will be offered to up to 600 participants, with 70 student staff leaders across the three sessions supporting their experience, and the expanded science teacher program now allows for 80 places in both locations.

We have also introduced an Equity Scholarship to assist students from low socio-economic backgrounds and other equity groups to attend the program, complementing the ongoing financial support available from many Rotary clubs. We expect this initiative to be fully subscribed for the NYSF 2018 Year 12 Program.

As noted above, we recently successfully delivered our first STEM Explorer Program, in conjunction with the South Australian Department of Education and Early Childhood. This program is targeted at year seven and eight students to increase their curiosity and STEM literacy and was extremely well received by the younger students who participated in the inaugural program.

Our fundraising and corporate support achievements remain solid and have exceeded expectation and budget. My sense is that this is due to our mature communications strategy, our paradigm of continuous improvement, and the delivery of quality and relevant programs. An additional factor is the contemporary governance approaches championed by our experienced Board. 

I take this opportunity to thank our Board members for their ongoing support, professionalism and strategic vision as we move the organisation through this significant growth phase.

I am pleased to advise that Andrew Metcalfe, AO, Rowley Tompsett, Loren Atkins, Dr Renee Kidson and Professor Sally-Ann Poulsen – the latter three are alumnae of the NYSF (as the National Science Summer School) – have all been re-appointed to the Board. We are also delighted and very excited that Dr Geoff Garrett, AO and the Hon Kate Lundy have been elected to the NYSF Board and will both be Deputy Chairs. Andrew Metcalfe, AO was re-elected as Chair for another two years.

Dr Garrett has a distinguished leadership and professional career in science both in Australia and internationally and most recently was the Chief Scientist in Queensland; prior to that Dr Garrett was the CEO of CSIRO.

Ms Lundy is the ACT Local Industry Advocate and formerly Senator for the ACT (1996-2016) in the Australian Parliament; she served in Ministerial appointments during this time, and is now actively engaged in promoting the opportunities for national and international business in the ACT. As a Senator, Ms Lundy was an enthusiastic supporter of the NYSF, often welcoming our participants to Canberra at Parliament House Opening Ceremonies.

The breadth of experience that these appointments adds to our board cannot be overstated, and I look forward to working with all of our board members to continue the organisation’s strategic development in the coming years, under the steady guidance of our Chair, Andrew Metcalfe, AO.

The broad aims of the NYSF are to reach more young people to encourage and build their engagement in STEM, to support and acknowledge science teachers in their own growth and development, to re-engage our alumni who are our best ambassadors – their achievements both personally and professionally inspire me every day.

I also acknowledge all of the Rotarians across the country for their support of the NYSF Year 12 programs, and specifically the significant contributions from our NYSF Rotary District Chairs.

I also acknowledge all of the Rotarians across the country for their support of the NYSF Year 12 programs, and specifically the significant contributions from our NYSF Rotary District Chairs.

And finally, I thank our corporate team members who work at the coalface of STEM outreach activities, finding and fashioning all of the pieces of the jigsaw, and working together to deliver quality programs for our participants.

I look forward to January 2018 and beyond as the NYSF continues to grow and meet the needs of the Australian community.

Dr Damien Pearce

Chief Executive Officer

August 2017

NSW Department of Industry supporting NYSF International Program Participants from NSW

NYSF alumni from NSW who are travelling this year on NYSF International Programs have again had the good fortune to receive a grant contributing to their travel costs from the NSW Department of Industry through the Office of the Chief Scientist and Engineer.

The Department has been offering this support to NYSF students for several years now. In 2016, 11 NSW students received the grant.  Programs attended by those students included the Canada Wide Science Fair (CWSF), the National University of Singapore Summer Science Camp (NUS SSC), the Research Science Institute (RSI) at MIT, and the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF).

The opportunity to travel on these International Programs is often life changing for the students who take part. For some it is the first time they have been overseas. Alysse Cook from Moruya, a small town on the south coast of NSW, shared her experience of visiting the Canada Wide Science Fair:

“I arrived home with an entirely new perspective on life. Being able to witness first-hand the work that young students all over Canada are doing, and the unique and society-changing ideas that they are presenting to the world, I developed a new sense of self-purpose and motivation. I have always wanted to pursue a career in medicine, though I doubted my abilities to do so. The Canada Wide Science Fair unleashed a whole new world of possibilities, and helped me realise my full potential.”

Viney Kumar from Sydney, attended the Research Science Institute – the most competitive and challenging program on offer. Here is what he had to say:

“The RSI allowed me to forge new friendships and interact with many peers with both similar and diverse interests from around the world. This strong and close community that I am now a part of will inspire me to do more, step outside my comfort zone, and become a better person as a result.”

In 2017, the Department is supporting 10 NSW students. The students are attending LIYSF, NUS SSC and XLab – a program based in Goettingen, Germany. We look forward to hearing the highlights from the 2017 cohort throughout the year as they complete these programs and on behalf of the students would like to thank the Department for their contribution.

STEM Explorer Wrap Up

The first National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) STEM Explorer Program ran from 17-21 July in Adelaide, South Australia. The Program was the first residential STEM camp in Australia for this age group of year 7-8 students and was delivered as a partnership by the NYSF and South Australian Department of Education and Child Development (DECD).  The aim of the Program – to enthuse the participants about the study of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Want to read more about the NYSF STEM Explorer Program?

If you’d like to know the institutions and organisations involved and the views of some of the key STEM advocates involved in the program you can read about that in “NYSF STEM Explorer roams across the Adelaide landscape”.

You can read about the activities undertaken by the participants in more detail in “Highlights of NYSF STEM Explorer 2017”.

Perhaps you’d like to know more about the NYSF’s “By Youth for Youth” program model and the NYSF alumni who volunteered their time and passion to support the young participants, while also gaining a valuable leadership development opportunity. You can read about that in “Meet the Youth Advisors of NYSF STEM Explorer”.

Taking the “Next Step” in Sydney for STEM study information

The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) continued its Next Step program in Sydney this July over a two-day period.  The Next Step Program is an extension of our January Year 12 Program – allowing the current year’s participants with the opportunity to further their knowledge about career and study options available to them.

Day one saw visits to our partner organisations ResMed and Cochlear in the morning and the Sydney Observatory and Powerhouse Museum in the afternoon.

At ResMed students toured the facilities of one of the biggest chronic sleep disorder device corporations in the world. They explored the ResMed manufacturing warehouses, had discussions with leading research and development engineers, and tried their hand at assembling various sleep apnoea devices.

During the Cochlear visit participants went behind the scenes for a glimpse into the hearing implant market and saw why Cochlear is a world-wide market leader.

In an interactive exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum, participants were transported back to Sherlock Holmes’ Victorian London to try and crack the case by conducting their own experiments.

Isabel Beaumont, one of this year’s cohort said NYSF’s Next Step program was a valuable addition to the January Year 12 Program.

“The Next Step programs are always useful as they further broaden your understanding of all the possible careers in science.  The are also a great way to reconnect with friends from the NYSF,” she said.

“I really enjoyed the visit to the Cochlear headquarters. We were able to tour their implant manufacturing facilities and see some very impressive machinery.”

During the evening the NYSF held an Alumni Event that you can read about here.

At the Sydney Observatory, in the heart of the CBD, students looked through a telescope over a century old, as well as more modern equipment. They viewed sunspots on our Sun, and the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter. They also discussed career options with Danica, the tour guide, who is completing a PhD in Astronomy.

The following day students visited the University of New South Wales (UNSW).  There were multiple visits available such as the opportunity to build and engineer solar cars, explore the Museum of Human Diseases and listen to lectures about psychology, optometry, medicine and various other degrees. NYSF alumni who are at UNSW studying degrees across science, medicine and engineering, visited the group, and  heard about the amazing scholarship opportunities UNSW offers.

NYSF 2017 alumnus, Ben Kirsh said he got a better insight into university life after visiting UNSW.

“It was really good to see the uni (UNSW) and the student tour guides were great because they showed you the side that isn’t portrayed in the open day brochures. They gave insider knowledge of senior students which I thought was pretty cool … and confirmed to me that attending UNSW next year is very possible. All in all we came away with a lot of great information and advice we can use to make informed decisions about study and career options into the future.”

Ben also felt that Next Step gave him additional information about future career and study options.

“Next Step was very useful as it allowed the opportunity to see other (NYSF partner) universities such as UNSW and talk to students currently studying a range of degrees in differing fields to question them to see which may fit myself the best. It also allowed me to catch up with people I met at NYSF, as well as meeting people from other sessions,” he said.

We would like to thank our partners for their continued support and in particular those organisations that participated in the Sydney Next Step Program, IP Australia, UNSW, ResMed, Cochlear and UTS.

Sharing Knowledge and Experience – Sydney Next Step Alumni Event

In partnership with IP Australia the NYSF hosted the second Alumni Event in July. The event was held at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), where our newest cohort of NYSF participants had the opportunity to listen to older NYSF alumni about their education and career journeys.  The Alumni Event was part of the Sydney Next Step Program which you can read about here.

Professor Louise McWhinnie, Dean of the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation welcomed everyone to UTS, and then several NYSF Alumni spoke about their study and work since leaving high school.

Stephanie Pearce (NYSF 2010)  now works as a patent examiner at IP Australia. Stephanie shared insights about life after NYSF, particularly her career at IP Australia, and the importance of protecting  intellectual property.

Associate Professor Alison Beavis, (NYSF 1997) who is Deputy Dean for the UTS Department of Transdisciplinary Innovation said she felt a part of the NYSF family and offered some sage advice to this year’s cohort.

“This year will be a hard, crazy year but remember in the end it will be incredibly exhilarating. It’s a long journey but you are not alone, you are always being supported.”

Our keynote speaker, Associate Professor Josephine Clayton,  attended the very first NYSF (previously known as National Science Summer School – NSSS) in 1984. She spoke about her professional and personal journey in medicine, and an experience with a dying patient’s attitude to medical care that changed the course of her career.  Associate Professor Clayton is the Director of HammondCare’s Centre for Learning and Research in Palliative Care. Her research aims to explore the best ways to facilitate open discussions around palliative care that aligns with the patient’s wishes as opposed to looking at the issue from a purely medical point of view.

“In an ageing population we can’t cope with palliative care. There are not enough beds.  We need to get GPs involved.”

“I am blessed to have a job that has dedicated time to researching and teaching.  I love collaborative research that focuses on translating research into clinical practice,” Associate Professor Clayton said.

The other presentations highlighted the diversity of our alumni’s experiences, touching on everything from overcoming obstacles and changing paths, through to advice on what employers are currently looking for and following your passion.  All in all NYSF alumni had a great evening, gaining great advice about study options and career, networking and meeting other alumni and catching up with old friends.

NYSF thanks our alumni speakers including Rhys Killian (NYSF 2013), Emily Smith (NYSF 2010), and Jacob Silove (NYSF 2014)  and our fabulous MC Jason Borg (NYSF 2010).  A special thank you also to Professor Louise McWhinnie, Associate Professor Alison Beavis, the staff at UTS who made the evening such a great success and IP Australia for its continued support.

Congratulations! NYSF Alumni as Tuckwell Scholars in 2018

On 14 July, the 2018 Tuckwell Scholars were announced and the National Youth Science  Forum (NYSF) is very proud to see six of our own alumni amongst the successful candidates.

The Scholarships are funded by the largest ever contribution from an Australian to an Australian university.  Graham and Louise Tuckwell started the Tuckwell Scholarships with a commitment worth $50 million in February 2013.  The contribution has now been more than doubled to be worth around $100 million.

The Tuckwell Scholarship awards students approximately $21,700 for each year that they study at the Australian National University, for a maximum of five years. Students receive a range of additional support including but not limited to: an allowance to assist with relocation costs to move to Canberra, funds to support a yearly trip home thereafter, financial support for parents/family to visit once per year, a guaranteed place at ANU-approved student accommodation, as well as mentoring and other leadership development opportunities.

“I feel extremely excited and incredibly fortunate to have been offered such an amazing opportunity. I think the scholarship will have a huge impact on my future, providing mentoring and guidance – in addition to financial support – that will allow me to grow both academically and personally.” Harrison Rieck 2017 NYSF alumni

Scholarships are awarded to students from all over Australia, who come from a wide range of backgrounds and are interested in a variety of different study paths. The competition was tough for the 2018 round, with 785 applications and only 25 scholarships awarded. The selection process involves three stages, with the final stage involving an interview. This is now the fourth year the scholarship has been awarded, and also the fourth time that NYSF alumni have been amongst the recipients.

“Being awarded a Tuckwell Scholarship is beyond imaginable and takes so much stress off both myself and my family going into university next year, especially coming from a small country town.” Gemma Nunn 2017 NYSF alumni

A huge congratulations to all the NYSF alumni offered Tuckwell Scholarships for 2018:

Candidates for the Tuckwell Scholarship Interview Weekend were pictured as they toured the ANU College of Business and Economics building, the venue for their group and individual interviews.

  • Gemma Nunn – Bordertown, SA
  • Hayley Yates – Carnegie, VIC
  • Harrison Rieck – Greenslopes, QLD
  • Noah Hindes – Cedar Grove, QLD
  • Jade Lin – Sydney, NSW
  • Toby Tasker – Sydney, NSW

Information about the Tuckwell Scholarships and how to apply is available here http://tuckwell.anu.edu.au/scholarship

Join the ANU Open Day Lab Coat Party

ANU Open Day – Saturday 26 August

Join us at ANU Open Day on Saturday 26 August and get a taste of life as an ANU science student. We will be offering a range of fun and interactive activities to help you determine your scientific future. Check out some of the activities below:

Lab Coat Party

Pick up your free lab coat and come along to our Lab Coat Party. You’ll get the chance to see our multi-million dollar facilities while trying out some hands-on experiments including visualising sound and robot programming. You may even make some new friends! Register here for your free lab coat.

STEM Avenue

If you’re looking for more, check out STEM Avenue. We’ll be serving up everything Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Grab a bite to eat, dance to coded music and see some thrilling science and engineering demonstrations.

Meet a scientist

Meet our leading scientific minds (did we mention our Vice Chancellor is a Nobel Laureate in Physics?). Our academics will be available all day to discuss their passion for science and the study options available to you.

Read more about ANU Open Day

My Dream Job as a Bioanalytical Chemist with CSL

CSL has been a valuable partner to the NYSF for eight years and has a range of exciting career options available for STEM graduates. Keep reading to discover more about just one career path on offer at CSL.

“I always thought I would end up in biology, but through exposure to practical work I ended up in chemistry and then biochemistry. So I would definitely say expose yourself to as many different areas of science as you can. This can be through reading, attending public lectures, practical-based school holiday workshops, working with a tutor, emailing someone at a university, watching videos on TED and YouTube and the myriad of open access courses available online.

CSL Scientist Alistair Grevis-James turned his childhood love of fish-keeping and propagating plants into a dream job as a Bioanalytical Chemist. Now he helps develop biotherapies for people with life-threatening medical conditions.  Alistair’s dream job profile appears in the 2017-18 edition of Student Guide Australia, a survival guide to life beyond school. For more dream job profiles, study and career advice, you can grab a copy here: http://au.educationhq.com/student-guide-australia/

Monash – What’s happening at Monash University

Monash Open Day

What a fantastic day we had!  Plenty of hands-on demonstrations, informative talks and explosions. If you missed out – there’s another opportunity to visit us, just book a tour of the Science precinct during the upcoming school holidays at https://www.monash.edu/science/about/events.

In the meantime, please take a moment to watch some of the highlights from this year.

 

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How to Survive on Mars: The Science Behind the Human Exploration of Mars

Could you survive on Mars? Mars has always captivated the human imagination, and it’s the most explored planet in the solar system. Getting to Mars is relatively easy – but surviving once you get there is the real challenge. In this four-week course, you’ll learn the basic science to help you solve the problems Martian explorers will face around water, oxygen, food, energy and communications. The course is open to all students and will be particularly relevant for students interested in science, engineering and technology.

Course commences 7 August.

Monash short, online courses are offered for free through the FutureLearn platform. For more information and to register, visit https://www.futurelearn.com/partners/monash-university

UQ News – What’s on at the University of Queensland

Careers in Cloud Computing

Date – Thursday 31 August 2017

Time – 2.45 – 4.30pm

Location – The Playhouse, Women’s College, University of Queensland, St Lucia

Hear an address by Teresa Carlson, Vice President of Amazon Web Services,on the future of technology and the many high-demand careers now available  in cloud computing. If you are interested in attending, see your school Guidance Counsellor/Officer. RSVP through your school to school.liaison@uq.edu.au by Friday 25 August 2017.

 

QLD Science Contest

Registrations close 9 October

The 64th Queensland Science Contest is a great opportunity for students from Prep to Year 12 to have their scientific work judged and receive over $12,000 in awards and prizes. Registrations for student entries will be open until 9 October. Judging is on Saturday 14th October.

The University of Queensland supports the prestigious “Young Scientist of the Year” Award.  For information, contact: staq@staq.qld.edu.au

 

UQ St Lucia campus tours

Tours are a great way to become familiar with the campus. If you take your tour between 6 March – 30 October 2017 you can go into the draw to win a GoPro HERO5 Black, a Red Balloon Voucher and a UQ shirt, with a total  value of $800. To book a guided tour, visit UQ’s Future Students website.

Scholarships

Looking for Scholarships for 2018? Check out the range of scholarships at UQ. Visit https://scholarships.uq.edu.au/