“Scientists need to listen more” – Heather Bray, NYSF Alumna 1987

The guest speaker at the NYSF 2016 Session A Rotary Dinner was Dr Heather Bray, a Senior Research Associate at the University of Adelaide, and an NYSF Alumna from 1987. In an engaging and enthusiastic talk, Dr Bray shared her experiences of the then National Science Summer School, and where her study path has taken her since then.

Dr Bray’s initial area of interest and research lay within the agriculture industry, looking at the effect of heat stroke in pigs. She discussed how her love of agriculture was largely due to the fact it combines science and humanities, two fields she finds particularly fascinating.


Dr Heather Bray, NYSF Alumna 1987, at NYSF 2016 Session A Rotary Dinner

Dr Bray also discussed the issue of mental health in the academic world, reflecting on her personal journey dealing with grief and loss. “Sometimes life doesn’t go to plan, but it’s okay and vital to ask for help.” She reminded the audience that even if our immediate plan is not working, that does not mean we’ve failed, nor does it mean that we will fail to achieve our life goals.

In conjunction with agricultural research, Dr Bray has also worked in science communication for several years. She provided educational science programs for young children, CSIRO workshops for teenagers and educating the general public about genetically modified food – another area that she has pursued.

A key point of Dr Bray’s lecture was to remind the audience that science communication is not just about the science. “We’ve (scientists) been doing a lot of talking, but not a lot of listening.” She said that she had realised that just providing the scientific facts was not helpful in encouraging individuals to embrace change in a particular area – for example, GM foods – so in order to better understand why, Dr Bray began a Masters of Education. Dr Bray now works in the Department of History, School of Humanities at The University of Adelaide, researching the animal food industry as well as human behaviour.


“Best audience ever!” Heather Bray on Instagram @heatherbray6

To find out more about Dr Heather Bray, please follow the link below. http://www.adelaide.edu.au/directory/heather.bray

Being the NYSF Rotary Dinner, Monica Garrett, Governor Rotary District 9710 spoke with the students about Rotary’s involvement in the NYSF; and Rotaract’s Rebecca Bamford encouraged the students to reach out to Rotary/Rotaract not only to pursue other opportunities through various youth programs, but also as a way of giving back to the community.


Story by Charlotte Brew,

NYSF2016 kicks off on Monday 4 January

On Monday 4 January 2016, the first of 400 year 12 science students will begin arriving in Canberra to participate in the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) 2016.

Sign 2015


Coming from all over Australia, the NYSF allows students the chance to explore possible options for tertiary study in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in a supportive environment, and learn about the varied career opportunities available to them through that study path.

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Staying on campus at The Australian National University (ANU), the NYSF program comprises 196 lab visits and site tours over the two back-to-back January Sessions, as well as lectures, debates, personal development skills, and social activities.  NYSF funding partners – including Lockheed Martin Australia, CSL Ltd, and Grains R&D Corporation – will present to students about their organisations and the work that they do on Partners’ Day.

Bronte with her interest group at NYSF 2015 (image supplied)

The NYSF has operated for more than 30 years, and has a long history of encouraging young people to continue on a study and career path in STEM. Students are selected for the NYSF through Rotary clubs in their local communities, ensuring participation from regional and remote parts of Australia is high at around 40%.

As well as hearing from a wide range of exciting speakers during the program, at the NYSF 2016 Science Dinners, students will hear from two distinguished Australian scientists:

At the NYSF 2016 Science Dinners, students will hear from two distinguished speakers:

  • Dr Nick Gales, Director of the Australian Antarctic Division (Wednesday 13 January 2016);
  • Dr Ranjana Srivastava, renowned oncologist, academic and author (Wednesday 27 January 2016).

For further information about the NYSF 2016 program, contact Amanda Caldwell, 0410 148 173; Amanda.caldwell@nysf.edu.au

From the Chief Executive Officer

It is truly a privilege to lead such a dynamic and contemporary organisation.  As confirmation of places are sent to the 2016 NYSF cohort, it’s a good time to reflect on the past year.

2014-15 was a very full and rewarding year – our highlights include the success of our youth and teacher programs, particularly launching Lockheed Martin Australia as a major sponsor, collaborating with Outward Bound Australia for the delivery of the Student Staff Leadership Program, and continuous improvements to our organisational governance.

This year, we have continued to increase our efficiency of operations and improve our reporting processes, with the successful implementation of an improved financial management system. This means that we can confirm that we are operating as economically as possible and making the greatest use of the resources available.

As the NYSF January sessions are conducted for young people by young people, this year we have focused on improving the process of developing our Student Staff Leaders (Staffies). Our NYSF Student Staff Leadership program prepares the 42 Staffies for their facilitation and coordination roles during the January Sessions. It is very pleasing that the NYSF is collaborating with Outward Bound Australia to deliver this program. As part of this program, the Staffies completed skill sets in training and mentoring and also participated in an outdoor orientated experiential based learning program.

This year we also welcomed Lockheed Martin Australia as a major sponsor of the NYSF – the first plank in our strategy to attract sponsors in the program from across the different economic sectors that are powered by science, technology and engineering. This investment by Lockheed Martin is significant and reflects an understanding of the important role of outreach and extension programs such as the NYSF in encouraging young Australians to continue their studies in the science, technology and engineering spheres. We acknowledge Lockheed Martin’s vision in joining with us to continue our support for young people.

Dr Damien Pearce and Raydon Gates, AO, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Australia

Dr Damien Pearce and Raydon Gates, AO,     Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Australia

Another milestone for the NYSF in 2014-15 was to increase for the first time the numbers of young people who could attend the Canberra NYSF January Sessions. As a result of the support from the Australian National University and Burgmann College we were able to increase the numbers to 200 for each of the sessions, limiting the impact of the reduction in places upon the 2014 completion of our contract to run a third session in Western Australia. Research and discussions are continuing around delivering NYSF January Sessions in additional locations in the future.

Planning for the NYSF programs begins some 18 months prior to the January of the year in which it is delivered. Plans for 2016 and 2017 are well in hand and we are looking forward to welcoming another 400 young people to participate in the program in January. We review and revise the program each year, to ensure that the participants are learning about the latest science research as well as gaining the best opportunity to explore their options for future study and career choices.

I would like to thank Professor Monro for her leadership of the NYSF and also endorse the vote of thanks that she extended to members of the Council and executive committees, office staff, student staff and Rotary friends. I would also like to acknowledge the many individuals, from across our stakeholder groups who give up their time to give lectures, and host lab and industry visits across our suite of programs.

These multiple contributions allow the NYSF to continue each year, building on the work done over the past 32 years, delivering a series of programs that make a difference to young Australians with a passion for science, and to the wider Australian community.

Dr Damien Pearce

August 2015

“Why I joined Rotaract” – Jake Weragoda, NYSF Alumnus, 2006

Like many, I found NYSF in 2006 to be a life changing experience. The opportunity opened my perspective to challenge the status quo, and in turn, I moved from Bendigo in regional Victoria to Sydney for university. Following NYSF, I was selected to travel to Africa with the NYSF for the South African National Youth Science Week – a trip where I met my wife. I was also offered the opportunity to return as a staffie in 2007.

At the University of New South Wales, I studied a Bachelor of Science (Biotechnology) and a Diploma in Innovation Management. These qualifications saw me start as a Graduate at Campbell Arnotts in their R&D Program, and became a Product Development Technologist developing flavours and biscuits for the Shapes range. I have recently moved on to a Project Manager role at Cerebos, a food and beverage company known for brands such as Gravox, Fountain and Saxa.

When I arrived for uni in Sydney, I took on a different challenge. Understanding the generous support of Rotary to NYSF, I wanted to give something back. With Rotaract being a program of Rotary for 18-30 year olds, I took the opportunity to join the Rotaract Club on campus.

Initially, I found Rotaract to be a great avenue for community service, getting involved in volunteering and fundraising projects. Our club partnered with the likes of Guide Dogs, Ronald McDonald House and Habitat for Humanity. I soon realised that Rotaract was much more – a chance to develop my own skills.

Jake Weragoda Rotoract

Jake Weragoda Rotoract

I took on the role of Rotaract Club President, and then District Rotaract Representative, a role in which I coordinated the 11 Rotaract Clubs in the southern Sydney and Wollongong region. In this role, I met a lot of great people and coordinated a regional team to run a Charity Harbour Cruise on Sydney Harbour, a fancy dress party that raised $6,600 for the Rotary Foundation and the End Polio campaign. In 2012, I was recognised as a Paul Harris Fellow for dedication to community service. This included a donation of $1000 to the Rotary Foundation in my name.

This inspired me to do even more. I ventured to Thailand to an international Rotaract convention and never looked back. I gained an appreciation for the global network of the organisation – 200,000 Rotaractors and 1.2M Rotarians worldwide in almost every country, and have built some amazing friendships along the way. I participated in a service project in rural Thailand, have travelled around Australia to Rotaract events and conferences, attended the International Rotary Youth Leadership Award (IRYLA), and was recently invited to speak at a Rotaract Training program in California.

The personal and professional development opportunities in Rotaract are endless. Local and international community service is a huge part of the organisation, but the skill building and social networks are profound and there for the taking. In the past few years, I have held positions on the Rotaract Australia board, including my current role as Chairperson.

For Rotaract Australia, I manage a team of six and oversee the committees for the annual Australian Rotaract Conference and Australian Rotaract Games. I started a national Rotaract magazine, created partnerships with ShelterBox – facilitating clubs to raise $9,000 for the Nepal earthquake disaster – and Movember, in which we’ve raised $18,000 in the last two years. I co-developed a national Rotaract Training program for Rotaract leaders, and have been a guest speaker at over 50 Rotary and Rotaract events. In 2013, I was named Australian Rotaractor of the Year.

The tie between Rotary, Rotaract and NYSF is strong and I encourage you to embrace the opportunities available to you by remaining involved in the organisation

Find out more about Rotaract www.rotaract.org.au or contact Jake directly chairperson@rotaract.org.au


The NYSF from a parent’s perspective

Daniel Lawson from Kingaroy in Queensland attended the NYSF in January 2015 and has recently returned from London as one of the 25 NYSF Alumni representing Australia at the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF). Here is what his mum Nicki Rossi has to say about the positive effects that attending the NYSF and LIYSF have had on her son.

“First of all thank you for giving Daniel the opportunity to attend both the National Youth Science Forum in Canberra and for selecting Daniel to attend the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF) which includes a trip to Geneva visiting the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

it does not matter where you live, if you are willing to apply yourself you can achieve whatever you set out to do

Before the NYSF, Daniel was veering towards studying engineering but the NYSF experience helped him to decide which career path he wanted to focus on – the field of scientific research. He thoroughly enjoyed the lectures and activities that he attended. He enjoyed meeting the NYSF staffies, aunts and uncles and the other students who attended the program.

One of his fundraising events for the trip to Canberra involved running a stall at the yearly Goomeri Pumpkin Festival where he sold a mixed variety of timberwork, bric-a-brac, soft toys etc. He spent the whole day talking to people about his trip and what he wants to do at University. It was great to see him interacting with people. He raised $900 that day.

The Murgon Rotary Club (D9600) in Queensland, who supported Daniel’s attendance, invited him to present about his experiences to members of the club. They were impressed with his presentation skills and how he answered their questions. Prior to going, he was very quiet but on his return he was much more confident. He had clearly matured since his NYSF experience.

Daniel is passionate about influencing other year 11 students interested in the program. He has written a couple of articles for the school newsletter, promoting the NYSF including details of how to apply. He also included his contact information to answer prospective students’ questions.

When he was successful in being selected to go to the LIYSF program, we were very excited. It also goes to show that it does not matter where you live, if you are willing to apply yourself you can achieve whatever you set out to do.

Daniel Lawson 2015 in London

Daniel Lawson 2015 in London

Daniel Lawson at Trafalgar square NYSF 2015

Daniel Lawson 2015 in London

Most people think that kids from a small country school are missing out … (but) his teachers work with him to supply him with challenging assignments

Most people think that kids from a small country school are missing out. Daniel attends Goomeri State School with approximately 110 students, situated 235 kilometres northwest of Brisbane. His teachers work with him to supply him with challenging assignments as he found class work relatively easy.

From what I can glean from photos received and the short messages I saw on Skype he had a great time in London and was very busy. We believe that this program will give him an opportunity to make friends from different countries and will provide him with a great base for travel and job opportunities in the future.

Daniel was selected as the Nanango District Youth Parliament Representative and has been busy working with other young members. He applied for this position, as he strongly believes that scientific research is important to Australia’s future and he hopes to make a difference.

He was also granted an RSL Academic Award of $5000, which helped fund his NYSF & LIYSF trips. Along with other young Queenslanders, he was presented with a certificate and plaque from Bond University on the Gold Coast in early March.

As parents, we did not quite grasp the importance and opportunity that the NYSF would provide for Daniel until we attended the orientation meeting in Brisbane where Rotary outlined what the program was about and how it helps those attending the two-week program in Canberra to consider their future study careers options. We believe that it has been beneficial in so many ways and the friends he is making along the way is an added bonus.”

Nicki Rossi, Proud Mum

Edited by Julie Maynard


NZ science program a positive experience

Emily Mason from Port Macquarie in New South Wales was one of six Australian NYSF students selected to attend the National Science and Technology Forum that runs in Auckland, New Zealand in January. Her participation was partly supported by IBM’s Diversity and Inclusion program.

Emily says that she really enjoyed how the NZ forum explored so many aspects of science and technology. “It opened my eyes to the many doors available not just in science, but also technological and engineering career paths.”

The program covered a range of lab visits including psychology, physics, food science and microbiology, molecular biology, geology and astronomy, as well as visits to local businesses to explore and learn about the kinds of jobs available.

Emily Mason 1


“My first visit was to the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR). This was a very interesting lecture, as we were taught about the amazing facility, what their role is and chemical techniques used in the forensic examination of evidence samples. Later that week I visited the New Zealand Police, where we spent the evening in the fingerprinting department. They taught us how they collect and analyse fingerprints. This was very hands on, as we were able to take our own fingerprints and keep them. My last technical options visit was to Heavy Engineering Research Association (HERA). They taught us how to measure the amount of stress on a particular component of structures. They then showed us how they have developed ways to create lightweight, earthquake resistant walls.”

Emily says the forum was a great opportunity to learn how to be independent. It also cemented her commitment to studying medicine after high school. “The forum has opened my eyes up to the opportunities I have once I finish studying Medicine. It showed me that I don’t just have to become a GP, but that I can go into research or some very interesting specialties. I was also shown that I could go into very interesting areas if I paired it with another degree, such as engineering. It opened many doors and I am incredibly thankful for having the opportunity. “

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


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


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)


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


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

NYSF-SessionA-Dinner-033 NYSF-SessionA-Dinner-012 NYSF-SessionA-Dinner-011

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.


Dr Deanna D’Alessandro and Gillian Burrowes


Geoff McNamara and Laura Frank


Panel members


Geoff McNamara, Laura Frank and Professor Aidan Byrne


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.

January 2015 Session C Wrap

Session C kicked off two days later, and this Opening Ceremony was significant because of our announcement that Lockheed Martin Australia was coming on board as a major sponsor of the NYSF for 2015-2016-2017.

The NYSF Science Patron, Chief Scientist for Australia, Professor Ian Chubb again welcomed the students and encouraged them to continue their studies in science and to grab with both hands the opportunities and experiences they would have over the coming 12 days at the program.

Lockheed Martin Australia’s Chief Executive Raydon Gates explained the company’s motivation behind supporting the NYSF for the next three years, and was as generous as Professor Chubb in sharing insights with students who wanted to know more about the opportunities available in STEM careers.

Professor Ian Chubb, Senator Kate Lundy and Raydon Gates at the NYSF Session C 2015 Opening Ceremony

Professor Ian Chubb, Senator Kate Lundy and Raydon Gates at the NYSF Session C 2015 Opening Ceremony

National Youth Science Forum Opening Ceremony with Lockheed Martin Australia - Wednesday, 21 January 2015 at Parliament House, Canberra

Waiting for the Opening Ceremony to begin

National Youth Science Forum Opening Ceremony with Lockheed Martin Australia - Wednesday, 21 January 2015 at Parliament House, Canberra

Professor Ian Chubb, Chief Scientist for Australia

Damien Pearce and Raydon Gates

Damien Pearce and Raydon Gates

Our special guests at this Opening Ceremony were three alumni of the program:

Flying Officer Kim Shearman attended the NYSF in 2006, returning as a student staff member and ultimately the senior staffie for the program. He studied at the Edith Cowan University, and is now a Flying Officer with the Royal Australian Air Force flying fast jets. Kim is converting to F/A-18 Hornets later this year.

Clare Paynter, who attended the NYSF in 2009, and moved to the Australian National University from Darwin. Clare has recently completed her Engineering degree and has much more than a passing interest in renewable energy; she has recently moved to Melbourne to take up a place in the three year graduate program of the Australian Energy Market Regulator.

Brody Hannan, who attended the NYSF in 2014, was selected to attend the London International Youth Science Forum in 2014, and will return to London in July as a staff member. Brody has opted to also study at the ANU doing Advanced Science, and is also one of the six NYSF alumni awarded a Tuckwell Scholarship for 2015. Read more about Brody’s NYSF experience here.

xxx Kim Shearman, Laura Frank and Brody Hannah at Opening Ceremony, Session C NYSF 2015

Christopher Hess,  Kim Shearman, Laura Frank and Brody Hannan at Opening Ceremony, Session C NYSF 2015

All three of our alumni guests said that they valued sharing their stories with the students as well as the opportunity to reflect on what they had been doing since attending the program.

National Youth Science Forum Opening Ceremony with Lockheed Martin Australia - Wednesday, 21 January 2015 at Parliament House, Canberra

John Harvey, Managing Director of Grains R&D Corporation, another major NYSF funding partner with students at Session C Opening Ceremony 2015

National Youth Science Forum Opening Ceremony with Lockheed Martin Australia - Wednesday, 21 January 2015 at Parliament House, Canberra

Professor Chubb holds forth with students

National Youth Science Forum Opening Ceremony with Lockheed Martin Australia - Wednesday, 21 January 2015 at Parliament House, Canberra

Senator Kate Lundy with students

National Youth Science Forum Opening Ceremony with Lockheed Martin Australia - Wednesday, 21 January 2015 at Parliament House, Canberra

Raydon Gates with students

Another round of engaging and exciting lab visits and site tours, discussions and social events followed for Session C. The Rotary Dinner speaker, Dr Renee Kidson, (alumni 1992) inspired the students and other guests with her message of continual re-invention and up-skilling to manage the transition through an exciting career of research, travel, teaching and policy development.

The dinner also featured the award of the Bruce and Lois Sharp award to former NYSF Council member, Bob Greeney.


Dr Renee Kidson and students at the Session C 2015 Rotary Dinner

Rob Woolley,   and Damien Pearce at the Session C 2015 Rotary Dinner

Rotary’s Rob Woolley, Lois Sharp and NYSF Director, Damien Pearce at the Session C 2015 Rotary Dinner

The Session C Science Dinner included the Indigenous Knowledge and Engagement Symposium, with the overall aim of placing western science within the context of Indigenous knowledge. This event was sponsored in part through IBM’s Diversity program, and we acknowledge their support.  IBM has been involved with the NYSF for several years, and understands the importance of encouraging students to think about science, engineering and IT careers.

Our special guest at this dinner was the newly appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Science, the Hon Karen Andrews, MP, who took opportunity to mix with the students and NYSF funding partners.

Scott Thompson, Lockheed Martin Australia, the Hon Karen Andrews, Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Science, students Josh Liaw and Jimmy Fan, and Damien Pearce, NYSF Director


Students with Penny Calvert and Caroline Bradshaw from ANU Science


Students with Professor Sandra Kentish, University of Melbourne

NYSF-SessionC-Dinner-010 CSIRO & Spearkers

Joe Sambono and Marian Heard, CSIRO Indigenous STEM Education Unit, with Bradley Moggridge and Josie Douglas

Panel speakers were Mr Bhiamie Williamson from the Native Title Research Unit and Dr Rod Kennett, Senior Research Fellow from the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Ms Josie Douglas, Aboriginal Research Fellow, CSIRO,

Mr Bradley Moggridge, Aboriginal Water Initiative, NSW Office of Water, and Professor Group Captain Lisa Jackson-Pulver, Chair of Indigenous Health, University of New South Wales and Royal Australian Air force, Specialist Reserve. Each speaker brought a particular personal perspective to the discussion, relating his or her experiences of working within science.


Josie Douglas from CSIRO


Brad Moggridge, from NSW Office of Water


Bhiamie Williamson, IATSIS


Professor Group Captain Lisa Jackson-Pulver, UNSW and RAAF


The Panel answering questions from               NYSF students

Stories about many of the activities in January are available on our Outlook website (http://outlook.nysf.edu.au) – take a moment to explore to learn more about what the 2015 cohort learned.

“ I recommend the experience as Rotary Aunt …”

The NYSF District Chair of Rotary D9700, Sue Moffatt, participated in the 2015 Session A for the first time, taking on the role of Rotary Aunt. This important volunteer position provides backup to the volunteer Mum and Dad on each session, and works closely with the counterpart Rotary Uncle, the NYSF Director, and the senior NYSF session student staff, to ensure pastoral care and support is provided to students during the program.

Sue talks about her NYSF experience:

“I arrived at Burgmann College at ANU on Saturday afternoon and soon met up with Rotarian Ruth Barber from Wagga who had been an Aunt in the previous week. After a quick handover, I attended the Saturday night disco with the students who were all dressed up in crazy science related costumes. What a start! Sunday was home hospitality day for the students, which meant a bit of free time. That would be it for the week though. A ‘day’ in NYSF terms is very long – up at 6.30am and in bed by 11.00pm with not a minute wasted in between. In the evenings, there were often structured activities, of the students had career talks, exploring different career options.”

I highly recommend the NYSF to all Rotary clubs. I also recommend the experience of being an Aunt, Uncle Mum or Dad. You live, eat and can interact with Australia’s best scientists of the future.

During the week we went on a number of science (a forum on the science and impacts of nano-science) and cultural visits, and the students prepared talks about an area of science of interest to them. We also had presentations from visiting international students from Canada and Fiji.

Tuesday was a highlight for me when I visited the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Mt Stromlo and witnessed the redevelopment of the site since the bush fires destroyed several telescopes. I then followed the physics interest groups to the ANU supercomputer facility. After dinner we boarded the bus to Questacon to participate in a live videoconference with Dr Rolf Landua from CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research which controls the the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

Part of our Aunt/Uncle role is to support students who were unwell and, as can be imagined, with 200 students at a time, there were a few trips to the medical centre over the course of the week.

On Wednesday I did hear some of the informative presentations by NYSF partners during partners’ day. And that evening, the celebratory science dinner was held at the Australian Institute of Sport when the 50:50 campaign to encourage young women to continue studying science was launched by UNSW Australia Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla, an Australian Research Council Future Fellow.

Thursday included a visit to SMEC who provides consultancy services on major infrastructure projects, such as a major road being constructed to the Canberra airport. Then I managed to win at scrabble on activities night. Woohoo!

Friday was the gripping closing seminar about modern designer drugs, given by a medical emergency doctor and frontline research scientist, Dr David Caldicott, and perfectly targeted to the audience. The last full day wrapped up with a fun visit to Questacon, before the final concert.

On the Saturday, Session A students returned home – exhausted but fulfilled by the program and all that they had learned. But they were quickly replaced by incoming Session C students; and it all started again for the NYSF staff.

I was amazed at the energy and professionalism of the NYSF “staffies” who are volunteer NYSF alumni – many in year 12 – willing to give back to the organisation through the year by studying for the skills they will need on session, as well as giving up two weeks of their holidays in January to work on the program as student staff leaders. Their ability to have fun and at the same time encourage discipline and bonding with their group is admirable and reflects the support and quality training program that the NYSF provides to them.

I highly recommend the NYSF to all Rotary clubs. I also recommend the experience of being an Aunt, Uncle Mum or Dad. You live, eat and can interact with Australia’s best scientists of the future. Please contact me if you want more information about my experience susimoffatt@gmail.com or Sandra.meek@nysf.edu.au if you would like a general overview of the role.”

Sue Moffatt students

The clubs from District 9700 who provided financial reports for 2015 students were, Coolamon (1), Cowra (1), Grenfell (1), Molong and Orange Daybreak (1), Wagga Wagga (1), Wagga Wagga Kooringal (3), Wagga Wagga Murrumbidgee (1), Wagga Wagga Sunrise (1), South Wagga Wagga (1) and Wollundry Wagga Wagga (2).

Fundraising tips from Rotary’s Harry Howard, District 9700

Cowra Rotary Club’s Harry Howard is an experienced fundraiser who has helped many NYSF alumni raise funds to attend international science programs such as the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF).

The LIYSF is a two-week residential event that attracts over 400 of the world’s leading young scientists aged 17-21. It is held at Imperial College London, with lectures and demonstrations from leading scientists, visits to industrial sites, research centers, scientific institutions and organisations, including world-class laboratories and universities.

Like many students before him, NYSF alumni Brody Hannan from Cowra was accepted to attend the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF) in 2014 while studying toward his year 12 exams.

Brody turned to his local Rotary Club for support in raising the necessary funds. Harry and the Rotary team of Cowra helped Brody to undertake a number of fundraising activities including a raffle of firewood donated by Rotary raising $800, organising a dinner at his local club with auctions and entertainment, and along with his friends, distributed brochures promoting Rotary’s collection of unused batteries for scrap. They also organised a film night with all proceeds going to Brody’s trip.

Local advertising and an interview with ABC Central West radio generated a number of donations including an original painting from a local artist that was raffled.

Harry said, “Brody’s enthusiasm, style and keenness were most important as our club perceived that he was totally committed to achieving his aim. That enthusiasm and commitment brushed off on us and we enjoyed the challenge.”

“The timeframe was quite tight as we decided to raise the money before he departed for LIYSF so fundraising was done over a two month period.  An additional incentive was to raise enough funds to ensure he participated in the CERN Discovery Program in Geneva Switzerland to view the Large Hadron Collider as part of his LIYSF experience.”

“The timeframe given was until the end of November but our thinking was that to continue to raise money after he returned would be difficult –‘let’s get it done before he leaves’. We raised about $12,000.”

“Despite Brody missing several weeks in his final year of high school, he was awarded dux of Cowra High School,” he said.

Brody spoke during the fundraising activities and is now a regular speaker at Cowra Rotary meetings. “Since his return from LIYSF, Brody has been to Rotary meetings a couple of times and has talked about his trip.  He has shown great gratitude to Rotary and is always asking to assist in other activities,” said Harry.

IMG_3086_Cowra Session A 2015 lunch 3IMG_3093_Cowra Session A 2015 lunch 2

“Cowra Rotary is fortunate to have regular contact with a large number of NYSF students. Each year, we provide lunches for the students travelling to and from the January Forum as they pass through Cowra, and we are never short of volunteers for these events. Brody assisted at all four lunches in January 2015 and enjoyed talking and meeting the latest NYSF students, he said.

“Rotary is a respected name and a respected club in Cowra and our club managed the money and the account so that would-be donors had confidence in the fundraising arrangements, which was important,” says Harry.