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:

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 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

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

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.

What’s on at The University of Queensland


OP Advice Night – December 18th

OP Results Advice Night is the perfect opportunity to discuss study options at UQ after you receive your OP.  Learn more about entry requirements and get personalised advice on pathways into your ideal program. Take a tour of the St Lucia campus or attend one of the many seminars presented by UQ staff.

View the seminar schedule

UQ Create Change Masterclasses

UQ is now offering a series of online learning opportunities: Create Change Masterclasses.
These engaging and interactive classes complement the Federal Government National Innovation and Science Agenda, which highlights the need for new ideas in innovation, and new sources of growth to deliver the next age of economic prosperity for Australia.

The first three classes in the series each take around an hour to complete:

Careers that started in science

Ann Damien, Bachelor of Biotechnology

“I first became interested in science when I attended the National Youth Science Forum while I was in high school. That was the first time I really saw people who were genuinely excited about science! I was hooked.

UQ’s international ranking and reputation for world-acclaimed researchers in life sciences along with excellent campus facilities placed UQ at the top of my preference list.

I now work as a New Technology Associate in the Asia-Pacific New Technologies Team (ANTT) at Cook Medical.

Biotech is an amazing field to be a part of,  the opportunities for new technologies and development are almost unlimited.”


How to lead in a disrupted world
This TEDxYouth talk ( is presented by Bernie Woodcroft, Director of ilab, a Start-up Accelerator owned by the University of Queensland.
He talks about the current and likely future changes in the world of work and the skills needed to be successful.

Monash University – Dingley at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC)

From Monday 25th to Friday 29th September, Adelaide saw cosmonauts from Russia, science educators from America, space entrepreneurs from New Zealand, and a geeky kid from Perth come together to experience the 2017 International Astronautical Congress (IAC). It was truly one of the most inspiring events I’ve been to and the best thing I’ve seen Australia do since I attended the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF).

The congress was open to anyone who wanted to come, and had a nice 90% discount for Australian students which I was more than happy to take advantage of. Other students from places such as America or France were sponsored by their universities to attend. Many gave presentations at the Congress but I was just there to enjoy the show!

When the foundation of the Australian Space Agency was announced at the IAC’s opening ceremony I, along with the 3000 other attendees, was ecstatic. For me this became the theme of the Congress and I made sure to talk with as many people as possible (including some of the people actually designing the thing!) about what it might mean.

Mornings were spent trying to rapidly consume Weetbix in order to make it to the first 7AM presentations. Here we heard from Lockheed Martin about their “Deep Space Gateway” which would act as a stepping stone between Earth and the solar system; plans for a Moon Village made up of a patchwork of colonists; and discussions about creating a space congress … in space.

I spent most of the day attending technical sessions, where researchers discussed their work and the audience asked questions and provided advice or perspectives. One of my university lecturers gave a talk on how lunar dust behaves in zero gravity and the problems that this causes. In between these sessions I walked around the exhibition hall where private companies and government agencies would show off their latest tech. I was super excited to try out Boeing’s new to-scale simulated capsule as well as having a chance to talk to space entrepreneurs (some of who even agreed to be interviewed for the video I was working on – see link at end of article).

The afternoon and evening talks was where ‘space celebrities’ took the stage. Bill Nye told us about the Planetary Society’s Light Sail which would make chemical rockets obsolete; and Elon Musk concluded the conference with an update on his BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) which he wants to use to take crews of 100 to Mars in 2024 and revolutionise air travel with 30-minute flights to anywhere in the world. Both speakers were amazing to listen to and hear about their vision.

Attending the IAC was an amazing experience, giving me an opportunity to talk to students and professionals from across Australia and around the world. I’ve made some great friends whom I look forward to exploring the final frontier with.

I made two videos while there; one on Australia’s history in space  ( and the other on where we’re headed ( If you’ve got any questions about my experiences or where we’re headed in space I’m very happy to discuss in the comment section of either video!

You can also like the Atomic Frontier Facebook page

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.

NYSF Alumnus Sandro Young – from top graduate to a career at Google

“I graduated from the University of Toronto with the highest grades in my class, and with a full-time offer from Google. I’ll be moving to Mountain View, California in September. I’m excited to start the next chapter in my life, and I’m thankful for the role that NYSF played in setting me out on this path.”

At the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) we are more than happy to blow the trumpet for our fantastic alumni and their achievements and NYSF 2011 Alumnus, Sandro Young is no exception!  Sandro recently graduated from the University of Toronto (U of T) as its top student and has already lined up a new career with Google in California.

Sandro talks to us about his time at NYSF and the journey that has lead him to a career with Google.

“Hi! My name is Sandro Young, and I’m an alumnus from the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) 2011. I’m from Canada, and attended the NYSF as part of a science-themed cultural exchange. In 2010, I participated in the Canada-Wide Science Fair – a competition in which finalists from across Canada in Grades 7-12 are invited to showcase their science fair projects. As part of NYSF’s International Program, a delegation of NYSF alumni visited Canada to attend the fair. The NYSF delegation then selected a handful of Canadian students to attend the following year’s NYSF, and I was lucky enough to be among them.

NYSF was a formative experience for me. I was interested in STEM throughout high school, but NYSF really solidified that interest for me. We visited some amazing labs, including a particle accelerator, an astronomical observatory, and a massive supercomputer. We heard talks from incredible scientists and engineers, including a scientist working on the LHC at CERN. We held mock debates about the future of energy and the ethical implications of genetic engineering. We went to barbeques, picnics, trivia nights, and a science-themed disco. I made some incredible friendships over the course of the forum. It was also the first time I got to visit Australia, and I loved discovering this beautiful country.

After finishing high school, spurred on by the experiences at NYSF, I decided to pursue a degree in computer engineering at the University of Toronto. University offered plenty of exciting opportunities. I worked on a robotics team, designing a rover which autonomously navigated obstacle courses. I co-led the Spark Design Club, fusing engineering with art to create large interactive displays. I interned at Altera (now owned by Intel), a company which builds reconfigurable integrated circuits. I developed an interest in artificial intelligence, and took courses in machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing. Finally, I got an internship at Google, where I had the opportunity to work on real-world machine learning problems.

I graduated from the University of Toronto with the highest grades in my class, and with a full-time offer from Google. I’ll be moving to Mountain View, California in September. I’m excited to start the next chapter in my life, and I’m thankful for the role that NYSF played in setting me out on this path.”

You can read more about Sandro’s achievements at the U of T HERE.