Thanks to our January 2015 lab visit providers

In June, NYSF hosted a Thank You morning tea for the providers of lab visits and site tours for the NYSF 2015 January Sessions.  It was also an opportunity to officially welcome Madeline Cooper, the NYSF’s Manager, STEM Education to her new role.

“Madeline’s focus is to refresh the Education Program, starting with the January Sessions,” says NYSF Chief Executive Officer, Dr Damien Pearce.  “We are taking the opportunity to review our priorities in what we are showing the students during the 12 days they are on Session, as well as identifying some emerging issues such as entrepreneurial thinking, and the importance and value of diversity in STEM that we believe they need to be thinking about, even though they are still at school.  And we are hoping to fit in even more science, as well as continuing the social skills development and big picture views of the world that the program has been presenting for some time.”

Madeline holds degrees in Information Technology and American Studies from the ANU, and comes from a background in student recruitment and program administration.

“The biggest challenge in this role will be fitting in everything I’d like to include into the program, particularly for the January Sessions. We have such an amazing range of contributors already, and there’s a wealth of expertise both here in Canberra and further afield that I’d love to tap into.

“I’m particularly keen on showing students alternative career paths in STEM – not all people who ‘do science’ are in labs. An passion for STEM can lead you in an incredible range of directions, and NYSF is the perfect way to demonstrate this to students.”

Chief Executive Dr Damien Pearce thanking Geoff Burchfield for his 10 year involvement with the NYSF both as Director and Program Adviser

Chief Executive Dr Damien Pearce thanking Geoff Burchfield for his 10 year involvement with the NYSF both as Director and Program Adviser

The morning tea also provided an opportunity for the NYSF community to thank Geoff Burchfield for his ten-year involvement with the organisation both as Director (2006-13) and Program Adviser (2013-15).  Geoff will be continuing his involvement in 2015 through the National Science Teachers’ Summer School, which is held in January, co-inciding with week two of Session A.

January 2015 Session A Wrap

And we’re back. The January Sessions of the NYSF2015 are done and all of our young people are home and hitting the books for their final year at high school.

Both Session A and Session C were successful, with individual highlights that the students and those of us involved in delivering the program will remember for a long time to come.

Session A will be remembered for being the first NYSF session to host 200 students on campus at the Australian National University – an increase of about 50 students who were able to be accommodated by our friends at Burgmann College. Finding additional lab visits for this cohort wasn’t anywhere near as difficult as we might have imagined, thanks to all of the wonderful providers without whose support the program could not exist.

We were delighted to have our new council Chair, Professor Tanya Monro, Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation at the University of South Australia and an Australian Research Council Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellow  – an alumni of the NYSF herself, – officiate at our Opening Ceremony for Session A.  Professor Monro was joined by Professor Ian Young AO, Vice Chancellor of the ANU, and Rowley Tompsett, NYSF Council member and District Governor of Rotary District 9710, Senator the Hon Kate Lundy, who hosted our visit to Parliament House for the Opening Ceremony and the Parliamentary Education Office session that followed. Senator Lundy steps down from the Senate soon, and we would like to thank her for her support over the years in hosting and welcoming our students to Parliament House.

Professor Tanya Monro, Chair NYSF Council addresses Session A NYSF 2015 Opening Ceremony

Professor Tanya Monro, Chair NYSF Council addresses Session A NYSF 2015 Opening Ceremony

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Senator the Hon Kate Lundy, Megan Lowry, Damien Pearce, Professor Tanya Monro, Professor Ian Young

Students with Rotary D9710 District Governor Rowley Tompsett and NYSF Council member Rob Woolley

Students with Rotary D9710 District Governor Rowley Tompsett and NYSF Council member Rob Woolley

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Rotarians Danny Matson, Ruth Barber and Kevin Trent  were volunteer aunt and uncles for Session A NYSF 2015

The next two weeks were a blur of visits, chants, forums, photos and special dinners, including the Rotary Dinner, where alumni (1997) Peter Nixon regaled the students with stories of his rich and varied career, leading to his role as Manager Core Architecture Evolution at Vodafone Hutchison Australia.

Peter Nixon (c) NYSF Alumni 1997 spoke at the Rotary Dinner for Session A 2015

Peter Nixon (c) NYSF Alumni 1997 spoke at the Rotary Dinner for Session A 2015

Peter Nixon, Geoff Burchfield and student at Session A 2015 Rotary Dinner (image Sarah Samsara)

Peter Nixon, Geoff Burchfield and NYSF 2015 student Toby Roat at Session A 2015 Rotary Dinner (image Sarah Samsara)

Students with Rotarians Padma Lal and Brij Lal at Session A 2015 Rotary Dinner (image Sarah Samsara)

Students with Rotarians Padma Lal and Brij Lal at Session A 2015 Rotary Dinner (image Sarah Samsara)

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Rotarians Ann and Roger Quarterman with students at the Session A 2015 Rotary Dinner (image Sarah Samsara)

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Rotarians Lolita and Vic Gibbons with student Sarah Skitt at the Session A 2015 Rotary Dinner (image Sarah Samsara)

And at the Science Dinner for Session A we hosted UNSW Australia’s Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla as she launched the Science 50:50 Project, which is funded by the Australian Research Council.

Laura Frank, Damien Pearce, Gillian Burrowes, Veena Sahajwalla, Dr Aidan Byrne, Dr Deanna D'Allesandro and Geoff McNamara at the Session A 2015 NYSF Science Dinner

Laura Frank, Damien Pearce, Gillian Burrowes, Veena Sahajwalla, Dr Aidan Byrne, Dr Deanna D’Allesandro and Geoff McNamara at the Session A 2015 NYSF Science Dinner

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Our panel discussion members comprised representatives from industry – Ms Laura Frank, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Lockheed Martin Australia, Ms Gillian Burrowes, Chief Executive Corporate Affairs, Arrium Mining and Materials; and academia and research – Professor Aidan Byrne, CEO of the Australian Research Council, Dr Deanna D’Alessandro, an NYSF alumni (1996) and ARC Queen Elizabeth II research fellow from the University of Sydney, and Mr Geoff McNamara, winner of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in 2014.

Together they nutted out some of the key issues relating to engaging and continuing young women’s involvement in science after high school, including different funding models, mentoring, flexible working arrangements.  They also touched on the key role that young men have in encouraging women into their circle and supporting and delivering social change.

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Dr Deanna D’Alessandro and Gillian Burrowes

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Geoff McNamara and Laura Frank

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Panel members

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Geoff McNamara, Laura Frank and Professor Aidan Byrne

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Professor Veena Sahajwalla

Session A garnered some media attention as well, with West Australian student Peggy Atkinson interviewed live to air on ABC News 24, and David Steketee (another WA student) and Sachini Perera (from Victoria) also being interviewed live along with academic Jeremy Smith from ANU Engineering, about their hands-on workshop run by Engineers without Borders. You can engage with these and other media stories from both of the January sessions here.

Needless to say, our volunteer Rotary parents, aunts and uncles joined our Session A staff in waving off the students, sadly on the Saturday morning, with sounds of the banana chant fading into the distance.

And yet …  there’s more.

Searching for CERN

A visit to Questacon on the evening of day 9 NYSF 2015 offered students an insight into an area of international research which is both answering and creating questions in the field of physics. And for the first time, Session A students engaged with the science teachers attending the National Science Teachers’ Summer School during the live cross to the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
Hosted by Questacon, the evening began with a presentation from Kaitlin Cook, an NYSF alumna. Kaitlin delivered an overview of the operation of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.  Her background talk particularly explained about the discovery of the Higgs Boson which has enabled further verification of the Standard Model of particle physics.
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Kaitlin Cook an NYSF alumna

This sparked the interest of both the students and science teachers, and questions began to arise from the crowd.  The special guest, Professor Rolf Landua – who was being viewed live from the LHC at CERN, (8:30am, Switzerland time) left no question from the audience unanswered. Perhaps he had heard it all before?  He has been conducting this session for the NYSF in Canberra for nine years – a very unique and exciting activity for all who participated.
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Professor Rolf Landua live from CERN

by Brett Slarks

National Science Teachers’ Summer School

The National Science Teachers Summer School (NSTSS) is designed to provide experienced teachers of science with a chance to re-engage with their love of science, and in turn, enhance their teaching of science to students.

In January 2015, just like students attending the NYSF, 46 teachers from around the country again converged at the Australian National University in Canberra for a program filled with seminars, lectures, lab visits and workshops designed to develop and enhance teaching practices in the classroom.

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Damien Pearce, Director of National Youth Science Forum says, “The NSTSS is an NYSF program designed to really excite the teachers who attend about the latest scientific developments and possibilities,” he said. “It also provides hands-on lab experiences that they might not normally be exposed to, using the latest equipment. And that’s quite a different opportunity for those who participate.”

Federal Member for Bowman in Queensland, Mr Andrew Laming, opened the 2015 NSTSS with a speech focusing on the importance of STEM education and its far-reaching effects on school children. He focused on the importance of arming young people with the appropriate level of STEM knowledge and understanding so that they can find good jobs, irrespective of whether they end up working in STEM fields.

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Supporting funding for the 2015 program was provided by the Commonwealth Department of Education and the Department of Industry and Science, through Questacon. NYSF acknowledges this support and would also like to thank the ANU, University of Canberra, CSIRO, Australian National Insect Collection, Questacon, the National Arboretum, Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station, Mt Stromlo Observatory, Australian Parliament House, School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering – University of Sydney, National Arboretum, Mount Stromlo Observatory and Geoscience Australia for running seminars, workshops and lectures.

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Mr Pearce says, “We know from our engagement with NYSF students and their families that enthusiastic and committed teachers of science make a difference to a young person’s decision to continue to work in the STEM areas. We’re looking forward to running the 2016 NSTSS and reaching out to more teachers through this program.”

The 2016 program will run from 11-15 January. For more information about the 2016 NSTSS program, email nstss@nysf.edu.au

 

 

 

NYSF in the media

Below are links to a number of stories and items that featured the NYSF in recent weeks. They are very helpful to review if you want to know more about the NYSF, its activities, and its program.

Interview with NYSF students Sahil and Anastasia, about attending the National Youth Science Forum

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/national-youth-science-forum-encourages-more-students-into-science-technology-engineering-and-mathematics-20150102-12cums.html

Announcement of major new funding partner of the NYSF

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/sci-tech/lockheed-martin-australia-announced-as-major-sponsor-of-national-youth-science-forum-20150121-12u1gw.html

Launch of Science 50:50 Project by Professor Veena Sahajwalla at NYSF Session A 2015

(article behind paywall – search for News.com.au for “Imagine that Veena Sahajwalla’s 5050 gender split for science”

Visit to the ANU School of Engineering by NYSF students in January, and about the NYSF teachers’ program, the National Science Teachers’ Summer School

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/national-science-forum-science-students-and-teachers-sharpen-skills-in-summer-20150115-12r6zo.html

Youtube video produced by ACTEW Water about the students’ visit to the Cotter Dam and water treatment facility in January.

TV interview with student NYSF Peggy about attending the National Youth Science Forum.

TV news item about NYSF students visiting the Canberra Heritage Railway Museum during January.

Radio interview with students David and Sachini, and Jeremy Smith from ANU Engineering and Engineers without Borders, about their hands-on visit during the January Sessions.

Radio interview with students Sophie and Michael, and student staff leader      during their visit to ACTEW Water in Canberra

 

From the Director

Welcome to the December edition of NYSF Outlook.

At the time of writing there are 400 young people who are preparing to travel to Canberra for the January 2015 NYSF Sessions. This map shows just how widespread our reach is for young Australians.

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To say that there is a sense of excitement building would be an understatement! I know of at least one group of students that are already ‘counting the sleeps’. Thanks to the support of The Australian National University (ANU), in 2015 we have been able to increase the number of students by 40 places for each of the sessions, giving us a total cohort of 200 per session.

Our domestic students will be joined this year with students from Germany, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada and for the first time Brazil and Fiji. The international participation over January is relatively small, however is well justified in terms of the opportunities it provides for our young people for knowledge and cultural exchange. This also exposes the international students to the study and career opportunities that are available within Australia, which they share in their home communities.

One of the highlights of the NYSF January sessions this year will be the Science Dinners. Instead of having a single keynote speaker as we have had in the past, the dinners this year will be run as a symposium. We have secured some of the best thinkers, researchers and practitioners to participate and offer us their insights. The theme for the Session A Science Dinner is engagement of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). The Session C Science Dinner will focus on Indigenous Engagement and Knowledge with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). We believe both of these discussions and the Q&A sessions that will follow will be stimulating for the students. If you are interested in coming along to the dinners, you can buy a ticket.  Email nysf@nysf.edu.au and we can send you the information.

For the 2015 National Science Teachers’ Summer School (NSTSS) we will be welcoming 50 science teachers from across the country from primary, secondary and senior secondary schools. The NSTSS is an NYSF program that is currently conducted in collaboration with the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA). The aim of the NSTSS is to immerse teachers in cutting edge STEM research and feed their – often infectious – motivation. The NSTSS challenges the participants to consider the question, “What do we want our students to know about science?” The resulting discussions regularly transcend curriculum frameworks. I would like to acknowledge Questacon and the Federal Education Minister, Minister Pyne, for their financial support for this much-needed program. Negotiations are ongoing to secure the longevity of NSTSS program into the future with the hope of it being extended to other locations.

On behalf of the NYSF Council, Executive and everyone here at NYSF Central, I would like to extend our best wishes for the Festive Season and New Year! And to the 2015 students … we’ll be seeing you soon!

From the Director

The three January sessions of the 2014 National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) are behind us, with 440 Australian and International students back at home, full of new knowledge, experiences, ideas and friendships for future study and career options within science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The highlights of this year’s January Sessions are covered within this edition of NYSF Outlook, however I would like to acknowledge the active participation of the students and our student staff members. Their engagement in the whole twelve days of the program is what makes it a success, and this year was no exception.

Our access to leading research and industrial facilities is … what helps to make the NYSF special.

It is also important to acknowledge the ongoing help from the many organisations that support the NYSF by facilitating and hosting lab and site visits , as well as other activities.  Our access to leading research and industrial facilities is often unique, and again, is what helps to make the NYSF special.

And finally, we must acknowledge the financial and logistical support of all of our Partners and Sponsors, which allows us to continue this valuable program year in and year out.

I would like to extend a particular thank you to Stuart McKelvie, Caroline Leach and Tayla McKechnie who were the Chiefs of Staff (P1) for the respective sessions. This role is pivotal to the success of each session and their efforts leading the student staff team into, and during the January NYSF sessions cannot be over stated.

A common question at this time of year is ,“When do you break out the banana lounges?”  But despite popular opinion, the NYSF Office does not go into hibernation in February. Currently we are planning the Rotary District Chairs Conference where we brief our Rotary partners on the program and its latest developments and hear first hand about their members’ experiences of the program; and we are evaluating the 2014 January Sessions; we are planning for the Next Step Programs which run in school holidays through from March to July; and the Student Staff Leadership Workshop, which will be delivered before the end of July.

Additionally we are also in full swing with the organisation and selection of students for the International Program; and preliminary planning is underway for the 2015 NYSF and the National Science Teachers Summer School (NSTSS).

So while the 2014 January Sessions are behind us, we’re always planning for the next cohort of young people to come and take part in the National Youth Science Forum and show them things they’ve never considered.

Damien Pearce

NYSF Bird

Summer fun for teachers of science

Congratulations to the teachers of science from across Australia who will be attending the National Science Teachers’ Summer School (NSTSS) in January 2014.

Run in collaboration with the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) and with the support of the Australian National University (ANU), the NSTSS is now in its fifth year.

Teachers spend a week networking and talking

Teachers spend a week on campus at the ANU, networking, talking to leading science researchers and this year, will meet with Richard Johnson – one of the winners of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching.

Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott with Richard Johnson, winner of the PM's Science Prize for Teaching 2013

Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbott with Richard Johnson, winner of the PM’s Science Prize for Teaching 2013 (Image: Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science, Inspiring Australia Strategy administered by the Department of Industry)

 

Damien Pearce, Director of NYSF, says that the synergies between quality teaching and learning of science, technology and maths are reflected in the close relationship between NYSF and ASTA, and has resulted in this collaboration, along with the ANU, to deliver the summer school for teachers.

“The NTSS is probably unique in the opportunity it offers for teachers of science at both the primary and secondary level to network, and exchange experiences. We can’t wait to hear about what they learn in January.”

Science Teachers Summer School nominations

Nominations have been coming in from teachers of science around the country, keen to participate in the National Science Teachers Summer School 2014 program in January.

Held simultaneously with the January Session A of the National Youth Science Forum, the NSTSS has been running for five years, and is designed to inspire teachers, and reignite their passion and enthusiasm for science and teaching.

Further information is available ahttp://asta.edu.au/programs/nstss or by contacting Vic Dobos, at the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA). Nominations will be held open until 15 November.

NSTSS is run in collaboration with ASTA and is supported by the Australian National University.

NYSF Annual Report 2013

NYSF’s Annual Report 2013 is now available to view online.