NYSF featured in Lockheed Martin Australia STEM dialogue in Canberra

Five NYSF alumni were honoured to be part of the Lockheed Martin Australia STEM dialogue hosted in Canberra last week. Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Marillyn Hewson applauded the National Youth Science Forum’s (NYSF) efforts in encouraging thousands young Australians to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Ms Hewson underscored the importance of innovation and STEM skills to Australia’s future, noting this was the reason the aerospace and defense industry leader had made the three-year commitment to the National Youth Science Forum in 2015.

During the dialogue, recent NYSF alumni reflected on key moments in their lives that inspired their interest in pursuing STEM fields and how industry and government can inspire more young people to study STEM. In particular, the alumni talked about how the NYSF inspired them, by exposing them to tangible problems, introducing them to potential opportunities in STEM, and by showing how science is applied in a wide array of fields to improve the world.

In photo with Ms Hewson (centre), National Youth Science Forum Alumni (from left):              Ms Ashley Dunne, Ms Bella Mortimore, Ms Matilda Dowse, Mr Andrew George and Ms Kaliopi Notaras

Ashley Dunne, originally from Perth but now studying Engineering at The Australian National University (ANU), attended the NYSF in January 2013, and shared the impact of the program on her decision-making.

“On my return home after the NYSF I began applying for engineering degrees at interstate universities, something that I would never have had the confidence or skills to do previously.

“Since graduating from high school, the NYSF has continued to open doors for me. I have made contacts both in universities around Australia and in industry who have opened their doors at the very mention of the NYSF program. Even when I first moved to the ANU to begin my degree, I think I was far more prepared to start university that a vast majority of my cohort, because of the skills learned on the program.

Without attending the NYSF, I wouldn’t be at ANU, I wouldn’t be doing innovative research at a local hospital and I certainly would not be able to stand here this evening and speak to you. The NYSF program has given me this self-confidence and that is the most valuable thing I could have asked for.”

Matilda Dowse attended the NYSF in January 2016 and completed year 12 at Canberra College that same year. She has just begun a double degree of Engineering (R&D) and a Bachelor of International Security Studies. “The Lockheed Martin dinner was a fantastic opportunity to interact with some of the leading national and international innovators and policymakers in STEM. Being allowed to seriously discuss important issues in the future of STEM education and industry with leaders from our community gave me valuable, critical insight into my dream field, and what we can do to improve it.”

NYSF 2017 visits Canberra firm Seeing Machines

Seeing Machines is a company started out of a robotics lab at ANU. The company develops technology which tracks the movement of eyes. This has a series of applications in the mining, automotive, aviation and medical industries. During the visit, the participants were able to try the ‘fovio’ system which is used in mining vehicles to detect drivers’ micro sleeps and when they need to stop and have a break. If a driver was to fall asleep loud noises and vibrations would wake him/her and alert supervisors.

Trying out the system

In addition to learning about the company and the technology they develop, the participants had the opportunity to hear from nine of their employees and their own journey through science. This was a unique opportunity to see where particular degrees could take the participants in the future but at the same time revealed that the skills a STEM degree gives you can be applicable in a wide range of areas.

revealed that the skills a STEM degree gives you can be applicable in a wide range of areas

The participants heard from software engineers, mechanical engineers and research scientists. One theme that was common throughout the presentations was the importance of having the right attitude, mastering maths, and the need to “always be learning, your whole career” (Seeing Machines software engineer, Andrew Medlin).

Kate Robinson, a NYSF 2017 partcipant said that she, “found it really interesting seeing how the different engineers went from one place to another and how they have been able to travel with their jobs, not just staying in Australia but travelling overseas. The lab was interesting being in the workplace, seeing how everyone works together and what they do on a day to day basis”.

The participants really enjoyed the opportunity to talk to the engineers and discover what path could lie ahead for them.

Veronica O’Mara, NYSF 2017 Session C Communications Intern and NYSF 2014 alumnus.

 

NYSF 2017 Session A: This is CERN calling – come in Canberra

One of the unique experiences of the NYSF program is a live video conference with Dr Rolf Landua, the head of the CERN education outreach group. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), is a research organisation that employs 13,000 scientists, engineers and IT specialists. They also operate the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Geneva, Switzerland. Students were able to ask Dr Landua questions about CERN, particle physics, and his general advice for those interested in pursuing STEM careers.

Live Video Conference with Dr Rolf Landua

The Session A conference  began with a presentation from Aqeel Akber, a PhD candidate at the Australian National University’s department of nuclear science. Aqeel’s PhD research focuses on nuclear structures, in particular the structure of heavy ions. He has always looked at the world with a scientific eye, pondering the underlying physics. “Physics is absolutely a part of my identity,” he says.

Aqeel’s presentation personified particles, making particle physics more accessible for students who had limited background knowledge on the subject. “Particles are the fundamental requisite for [understanding] the greater,” he says, but he emphasised that it’s important to remember that particle physics is “not yet a theory of everything,” and that more research is required.

“Particles are the fundamental requisite for the greater.”

This is where CERN excels, with their 27 kilometre long circuit of superconductive magnets, they are able to accelerate protons to 99.9999991% the speed of light. You may have heard of the LHC through CERN’s observation of the Higgs boson in 2013. A beam in the LHC consists of around 300 trillion protons, which may sound like a lot, but if these protons were stationary they’d only weigh a billionth of a gram. Due to their immense velocity, a beam of protons in the LHC is more energetic than a million speeding bullets. When two beams collide, scientists are given a brief opportunity to gaze upon the fundamental building blocks of our universe.

At 8:00PM in Canberra, or 10:00AM in Geneva, two hundred excited students were met by Dr Rolf Landua through Skype. Dr Landua has been working at CERN for 35 years, initially working on antimatter but more recently focusing on education outreach.

“We all work together in a constructive way, it’s a really nice place to be. It’s what the world should be like in a hundred years.”

When asked about what it’s like to be part of such a dynamic organisation, Dr Landua said he was “really impressed by the diversity. For every question relevant to your research, you find someone who is an expert in it. We all work together in a constructive way, it’s a really nice place to be. It’s what the world should be like in a hundred years.”

Students and teachers lining up to ask Dr Landua a question, while the rest of the Session A cohort watches on

Dr Landua believes that effective communication of science to taxpayers is of paramount importance. “They pay for our research, they’re basically our employers,” he stated.  A common question, Dr Landua says, is “what is particle physics good for?” Dr Landua and a large number of scientists are committed to researching particle physics to satisfy their innate curiosity, but the technological advances that have been made possible by their research are immense. The World Wide Web, Wi-Fi, and digital photography are all physical manifestations of man’s endeavour to satisfy our curiosity.

Find out more about Dr Rolf Landua’s previous research here

By Daniel Lawson, NYSF 2017 Session A Communications Intern and NYSF 2015 Alumnus.

A passion for all things science and engineering – Claire Oakley, NYSF 2011 Alumna

Claire Oakley attended the NYSF in 2011. She is in her final year of studying Chemical Engineering, at Monash University.

“Five years on from my participation in NYSF, it’s an interesting exercise to try and identify all of the ways attending the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) has affected where I am now, and to predict how it will affect me in the future. Currently, I’m a 5th year engineering-commerce student at Monash University, with my engineering major being chemical engineering.

Firstly, NYSF showed me the benefits of attending a Group of Eight university: the ground breaking research opportunities, the benefits to my resume, and the high calibre of both staff and students


claire-oakley-1One of the strongest impacts the NYSF has had on my journey from there to here is my choice in university. I’d known long before NYSF that engineering was what I wanted to do, so the question at that stage was how, not what. Firstly, NYSF showed me the benefits of attending a Group of Eight university: the ground breaking research opportunities, the benefits to my resume from attending a university that is internationally renowned, and the high calibre of both staff and students

Additionally, through connections made at the NYSF, I was able to visit Monash early in year 12, and talk to current students honestly about what life was like in engineering at Monash. But from there, I was sold! The common first year, where I could take a few units from each engineering discipline before deciding what discipline I wanted to major in, the leadership programs available, and the on-campus lifestyle that I’d had a taste of on NYSF were all things that contributed to my decision to apply for Monash.

It was definitely the right choice for me. There have been good moments and bad moments of course, but overall, it’s been a good experience. Starting university, I was convinced that civil engineering was my dream career, but the common first year was enough to convince me that chemical engineering was really what I enjoyed and am good at. I have been fortunate enough to be involved with a fantastic engineering leadership program, which was notable for attracting a curiously high proportion of NYSF alumni in the cohort! I’ve just begun the chemical engineering final year project, where as the leader of a team of seven of my classmates, we have been asked to create a conceptual design for a factory to make methanol from carbon dioxide and waste methane: a sustainable, carbon negative source. This promises to be incredibly challenging and equally rewarding.

Overall, reflecting on how far I’ve come in the last five years is a positive experience, and NYSF has definitely been part of that.

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Claire Oakley (right) on an internship at a winery

Along the way, I’ve also had some fantastic internships and work experience opportunities. After year 12, I was able to set up a position as a lab technologist in a local winery. The work wasn’t exactly glamorous, but it was experience, it was paid, and it was science. After doing that for two summers, I had a unique resume, particularly compared to my fellow engineering students. With opportunities provided through the leadership program, I was able to leverage this experience into an ongoing relationship and industry sponsorship with one of Australia’s largest food manufacturers, Simplot Australia. With them, I’ve worked at several sites across Australia, helping make everything from French Fries to Lean Cuisine frozen meals! Most recently, they became involved with the Monash University Industry Based Learning program, and so I was able to complete the research component of my degree in their company, writing standards for all of their engineering teams across Australia. It was the first time this company had participated in an Industry Based Learning scheme, but the relationship grew to be beneficial for all. I’ve also taken up other opportunities that I’ve come across, most recently working at a bioplastics manufacturing firm.

Overall, reflecting on how far I’ve come in the last five years is a positive experience, and NYSF has definitely been part of that. Not only through the choice of university, but also through providing long lasting friendships and passion for all things science and engineering.”

Defence science: a world of opportunities

The Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) provides the Australian Government with scientific advice and innovative technology solutions to meet Australia’s Defence and national security needs. It is part of the Department of Defence.

As the country’s second largest publicly-funded research organisation after the CSIRO, DST employs 2,100 scientists, engineers and researchers, all of whom have in-depth knowledge and experience in many science and technology disciplines.

Whether it is improving personal protection armour and ration packs for the army, designing missile decoys to protect navy ships, putting wings on bombs to increase the Air Force’s missile range or building the world’s largest over-the-horizon radar network to keep a watch on our borders, DST scientists continually come up with clever science solutions that work.

It was a defence scientist who invented the black box flight recorder in the 1950s. Among other innovations, today’s DST scientists are developing equipment to protect Australian soldiers from improvised explosive devices and extending the life of fighter aircraft beyond their use-by-date.

The Director of Science Outreach and Inclusion at DST, Rebecca Halliday, says a skilled and motivated workforce is an essential prerequisite for the organisation to continue delivering outstanding scientific support to Defence.

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nysf-sessionc-expo-17-dstg-2

DST is committed to attracting talented people such as those who attend the NYSF. We believe we can offer them a unique opportunity to pursue a rich and rewarding career in science while contributing to Australia’s national security.

”There are many different career pathways available within DST including cadetships and scholarships for students, a summer vacation placement program, an industry experience placement program, and a graduate program.”

Industry Experience Placement student Stephen Pidgeon says that it’s a great opportunity to work within DST, as it is such a unique experience that you will not find anywhere else.

“It’s allowing me to develop and implement the skills I have learnt during my university studies and will assist in my final year before graduation,” he said.

There is an amazing breadth and depth of scientific research undertaken by defence scientists in Australia today, with great career opportunities on offer.

For more information  please refer to: www.dst.defence.gov.au/careers/career-options, or email your enquiries to: DSTGroupSTEMCoordinator@dsto.defence.gov.au.

Lockheed Martin Australia’s commitment to R&D boost

Representatives from the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) were honoured to be invited to participate in a roundtable discussion in Canberra in August, led by Dr Keoki Jackson, Chief Technology Officer of Lockheed Martin. Dr Jackson was in Australia for a series of meetings and to announce the company’s new investment in Australia’s R&D community, through the establishment of the STELaR Lab in Melbourne, to be headed by Dr Tony Lindsay.

The $13million investment in the STELaR Lab will support a variety of research programs including hypersonics, autonomy in robotics, quantum computing and communications and data analytics to be conducted at the Melbourne site, providing opportunities for Australian PhD students. Australia was selected for the establishment of STELar Lab after a world wide evaluation of prospective locations.  This investment is a nod to Australia’s credentials as a smart nation investing in and driving growth and prosperity through innovation and science.

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Dr Keoki Jackson, Ms Karen Duneman, Caitlin Sweeting and Emily Rees at the Lockheed Martin Roundtable in August 2016 (image Lockheed Martin Australia)

Ms Karen Duneman, Lockheed Martin’s Director of Global Science and Technology Engagement and a senior and long-standing Lockeed Martin employee, spoke to the group about her experience as an engineer, and Lockheed’s commitment to a diverse workforce.

The NYSF was represented at the event by two alumni, Caitlin Sweeting and Emily Rees, who were invited to share their experience of attending the NYSF and the benefits it offered.

Caitlin, a graduate of Curtin University’s Bachelor of Engineering (Petroleum Engineering), attended the NYSF in 2011. “Motivated by my experience at the NYSF,  I went on to study engineering after high school and graduated in 2015. During my degree I undertook engineering internships at both Woodside and Shell Australia to gain valuable industry experience. As a university student I was also selected to attend the International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) Education Week in Kuala Lumpur in 2014 to compete in a project team made up of students from all over the world. Additionally, I was awarded the Engineering Australia (WA Division) Digby Leach medal for the best overall course performance in Engineering at Curtin. I am currently undertaking a graduate program at Shell Australia specializing in Reservoir Engineering and am a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.”

Emily is currently studying engineering at The Australian National University. She attended the NYSF in 2014, and decided to apply for the ANU as a result of her participation in the program. Previously, she had not even considered studying inter-state, but was particularly attracted to the ANU because of its undergraduate research study opportunities.

In the Engineering R&D course, Emily has undertaken projects on semiconductors and green nanotechnology. She is also a student ambassador for the ANU, is involved in the Engineering Association, the ANU’s Solar Car initiative, the debating club, and is a mentor and committee member of Fifty50 – which promotes gender equity in the ANU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS).

 

“A career in engineering was the right fit for me”

Sophie Dawson attended the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) in 2008 and like many students before her, was encouraged to apply by her (physics) teacher.

Sophie says she knew she wanted to study engineering due to her interests in physics and mathematics, but it wasn’t until she experienced the NYSF lab visits and workshops, and the Next Step Program in Adelaide, that she developed a better understanding of the variety of work that engineers perform.

“Before attending the NYSF, I wasn’t aware of or had been exposed to the many career opportunities available in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) or even which of the many fields of engineering, design and technology I was interested in.”

I am still in touch with friends that I made at NYSF

For Sophie, the NYSF was also a great networking opportunity. “I am still in touch with friends that I made at NYSF – I think because it brought together so many like minded people. The NYSF helped confirm that pursuing a career in engineering was the right fit for me based on my interests.”

Sophie studied a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Aerospace) at the University of Adelaide and undertook an Honours project examining ways of reducing the induced drag of aircraft wings. “At times during my study, I found the work hard and questioned whether I still wanted to be an engineer, particularly in the aerospace industry. I would then try and imagine doing something else but couldn’t see myself anywhere else. The passion, intelligence and hard work of the people around me was, and still is, inspiring.”

During her time at university she was involved in organising the Australian Youth Aerospace Association AeroFutures conference. “This was another great opportunity to find out about the careers available in the aerospace industry. This also made me realise the breadth and scope of an industry I thought was small in Australia.”

Sophie Dawson - Jetstar graduates

Sophie Dawson with other Jetstar graduates

She has recently completed a two-year graduate program with Jetstar Airways where she was able to explore several roles though rotations in different parts of the business. “I think the appeal of this type of program is the ability to explore different interests and better understand the everyday tasks involved. This was the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate pursuing a technical engineering career or moving into other applications. From this experience, I found that I really wanted to continue working in a technical role, and was fortunate to find my current position as an operations engineer.”

Sophie is now part of a team that is responsible for technical support covering all aspects of aircraft performance and aircraft loading. “The work is varied and involves many different aspects of airline operations. I work on projects that involve the evaluation of new aircraft and modifications to existing aircraft and equipment. Other aspects are the management of systems and software that effect aircraft loading and weight and balance.”

“This role has huge scope for continued learning and development and is where I see myself for the next few years to make the most of this opportunity. Every day is different, and there is a large variety in the type of work including analysis, engineering and project management. Two of the most exciting things that I am involved with are projects that encompass the whole airline and aim to balance commercial outcomes and operational challenges, and quick responses to operational requests to ensure safe and efficient flight dispatch.”

Remember that there are many different and varied pathways to get to where you want to be

For others considering a specific career, in engineering or otherwise,  Sophie’s advice is to get involved in the industry. “Seek out opportunities and be proactive. Remember that there are many different and varied pathways to get to where you want to be and much of the enjoyment and satisfaction comes from the journey. It takes ingenuity and hard work and you can learn something from every experience, even if the lesson is very unexpected.”

By Julie Maynard

University of Melbourne News – two new science majors

The University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Science has recently added two new majors to the Bachelor of Science: Data Science & Environmental Engineering Systems. Each new major is being introduced to offer students the opportunity to combine a number of disciplines to lead to new combinations of knowledge and skills.

Data Science Major

Over the past decade, there has been an explosion in the amount of data available worldwide. Trillions of bytes are now captured daily from mobile devices, web logs, sensors, and instruments. Organising and making sense of this information requires distinctive new skills. The Data Science major has an emphasis on statistics and computer science. It will support students in developing a strong foundation in the statistical aspects of data analysis (data collection, data mining, modelling and inference), as well as the principles of computer science (algorithms, data structures, data management and machine learning). This major is designed to provide students with an intellectual understanding of how to integrate and apply statistical and computing principles to solve large scale, real-world data science problems.

Careers – through this major, students will develop skills in business, technology, mathematics and statistics, all of which are increasingly important in research and industry. This may lead to careers in:

  • Information technology and communications
  • Research and education
  • Health and medical industries
  • Business and financial services
  • Sales and marketing
  • Engineering and mining
  • Climate and weather forecasting
  • Government

Graduate Pathways – students with a major in Data Science will be well prepared for graduate study in the newly-launched Master of Data Science, as well as the Master of Science (Computer Science) and the Master of Science (Mathematics & Statistics). You might also pursue graduate study in fields such as software engineering.

Environmental Engineering Systems

There is a steady demand for engineers who work at the interface of engineering technology and bio-physical and natural environments. The Environmental Engineering Systems major focuses student learning on the interactions between physical materials and processes, and human and non-human organisms. Students who successfully master these tools will be in a strong position to apply them as environmentally literate scientists in industry, or to continue their study in the field of environmental engineering to become a professional engineer.

 Bachelor of Science – Science and Technology Internship

A reminder that Bachelor of Science students can now undertake a Science and Technology Internship subject which will offer real experience working in a science or technology related workplace. The internship will help students to identify and articulate their knowledge and skills and apply them to relevant contexts and work-settings, produce original work in an appropriate format which demonstrates analytical, research and problem-solving skills, understand the value of industry and professional networks and their importance to lifelong learning and career progression and develop greater confidence in their ability to contribute to a science-related workplace, awareness of the strengths they offer to a future employer as well as areas to further develop beyond their degree.

To learn more about his exciting new subject, click here: http://science.unimelb.edu.au/students/enrich-your-studies/science-technology-internship.

If you have any questions or require more information about the University of Melbourne, please contact Nicky Haslinghouse via hnicola@unimelb.edu.au

Defence civilian 2017 undergraduate sponsorship in IT and engineering

What if you could study at one of the best universities in Australia, get paid work experience placements and complete your degree with no HELP debt?

The Defence Civilian Undergraduate Sponsorship (DCUS) is open to aspiring university students who wish to pursue a degree through the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA).

There are two disciplines available in 2017: Engineering (Mechanical, Electrical, Aeronautical and Civil and Computer and Cyber Security

Applications are open from 15 August – 15 September 2016.

Want to know more? Email student.opportunities@defence.gov.au call (02) 6127 2138 or visit the website.

University of Queensland News – undergrad biomed/tsunami science/MOOCs

University of Queensland now offering more undergraduate program options in biomedical science

Biomedical scientists provide the foundation of modern healthcare, and in 2017 you will have more ways to study biomedical science at UQ than ever before. In addition to our flagship three-year Bachelor of Science program (majoring in Biomedical Science), UQ now offers three new biomedical study options:

  • Bachelor of Biomedical Science (3 years)
  • Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) majoring in Biomedical Science (4 years)
  • Bachelor of Biomedical Science/Bachelor of Science dual program (4 years).

The Bachelor of Science (majoring in Biomedical Science) and the Bachelor of Biomedical Science are ideal for those seeking a career in biomedical science, or a pathway to medicine and other allied health programs. The Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) majoring in Biomedical Science is a great choice for people considering a research career, and an excellent option for students interested in clinical research.

Visit the website for more details.

SCIENCE TEACHERS: Participate online in live events with earthquake and tsunami researchers

Does your school want to access leading scientific opinions about the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Indian Ocean communities in 2004, killing more than 250,000 people?

University of Queensland PhD candidate Sarah Kachovich from the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management and scientific colleagues from around the world will take part in a live video broadcast about the Sumatra Seismogenic Zone with school teachers and their students over the next few months.

“We will take groups on tours via live video, and handle questions and answers about our work,” said Sarah.

“We will also be blogging our findings through the Joides Resolution website so students can individually follow our research in live time. This is also the portal for live chats if teachers are interested.”

School groups and teachers wishing to take part in live video broadcasts can fill out a request form or visit Joides Resolution website.

BrisScience: Is science any use for saving species and habitat?

 Watch our latest BrisScience recording about how optimisation can be used as a framework to make the tough decisions for environmental conservation.

You can subscribe to the BrisScience mailing list to be notified about upcoming events, or watch video recordings from past events through our website.

Immerse yourself in science with SPARQ-ed

Year 10, 11 and 12 students are invited to apply for the SPARQ-ed research immersion program. You can assist researchers at UQ’s Diamantina Institute on real research projects during the holiday break.  Find out more and apply at www.di.uq.edu.au/sparqed-rip

Students participating in the research immersion programs can opt to complete an additional assessment piece which can earn them a point under the University of Queensland’s Bonus Ranks Scheme.

Schools can also apply for a SPARQ-ed Cell and Molecular Biology Experience. These half to two day programs provide senior secondary students an opportunity to explore concepts and use techniques not normally covered in a school laboratory. Find out more and apply at www.di.uq.edu.au/sparqsingle

TROPIC101x Tropical Coastal Ecosystems MOOC

Do you want to develop the skills and knowledge needed to help preserve tropical coastal ecosystems? These habitats provide goods and services for hundreds of millions of people but human activities have led to their global decline. TROPIC101x will introduce you to the incredible plants and animals that create these unique ecosystems.

THINK101x The Science of Everyday Thinking MOOC

 Explore the psychology of our everyday thinking: why people believe weird things, how we form and change our opinions, why our expectations skew our judgments, and how we can make better decisions. You will use the scientific method to evaluate claims, make sense of evidence, and understand why we so often make irrational choices. You will begin to rely on slow, effortful, deliberative, analytic, and logical thinking rather than fast, automatic, instinctive, emotional, and stereotypical thinking.