Canberra College students recall their 2016 National Youth Science Forum experience

Canberra College students Matilda Dowse, Morgan Kikkawa and Kaliopi Notaras were selected to attend the 2016 National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) held at The Australian National University.

Over the course of two weeks, Matilda, Morgan and Kaliopi along with almost two hundred students attending Session C, participated in
a variety of STEM-related activities including lab visits, lectures, workshops, site visits, formal dinners and group activities.

It wasn’t until NYSF commenced that I realised how little I actually knew about the other fields of science

For Matilda, the major highlights of the forum included the opening lecture from leading Australian physicist Professor Tanya Monro from the University of South Australia, participating in an entrepreneurial workshop led by influential business leaders in STEM, and joining a live video conference with Dr Rolf Landau from CERN in Geneva Switzerland.

Matilda Dowse at the NYSF Science Dinner

Matilda Dowse at the NYSF Science Dinner

“The program opened up a world of opportunities I previously had never considered. The NYSF experience was about building a strong sense of belonging and friendship through science. The friends and memories we built in our interest groups, at mealtime, dorm groups and social activities remain some of my greatest memories, and removed all doubts about fitting in. The NYSF kindled a love for science and I would strongly recommend the program to any year 11 student vaguely interested in STEM.”

“Thank you to Canberra College chemistry teacher Mr Stephen Ford for encouraging me to attend the forum. I owe much of my continued interest in science to him.”

Seeing 200 fellow students light up at the same things I did was truly the most staggering part of all

Before attending the NYSF, Morgan says he had his sights set on a career in medicine. “After the NYSF I found that my passion lay in all sorts of different areas of science. Seeing 200 fellow students light up at the same things I did was truly the most staggering part of all.”

Morgan Kikkawa

Morgan Kikkawa

“The fascinating discussions I had not just with the guest speakers and scientists but also the students, is by far the most valuable experience I took away from the program. While the program distorted my vision of the specific career I wanted to pursue, it clarified perfectly my love of science and desire to pursue it to my heart’s content.”

Kaliopi shares a similar experience. “I gained a lot from the opportunities within the program, in that it shaped and developed my understanding of science immensely. I entered the experience with a certain mindset about the career path I wish to follow and it wasn’t until NYSF commenced that I realised how little I actually knew about the other fields of science. I gained a new found interest in the research aspects of biology and was thoroughly intrigued by physics, engineering and even computer science, subjects I never regarded previously.”

Kaliopi Notaras

Kaliopi Notaras

“The NYSF validated my desire to continue in science and showed me that within my career I could couple public speaking, teaching and research, along with my love for practical involvement in hands-on environment.”