Merryn Fraser from West Cambewarra, near Nowra in New South Wales, has just finished her first year of a Bachelor of Science (Advanced) (Honours) at The Australian National University.
She says that attending the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) in 2013 was a huge influence on her decision to apply for a position at the ANU.
“Before the NYSF, I’d never considered studying in Canberra. But “I decided on ANU because of the positive experiences I had while at the NYSF, the stellar reputation of the university and its researchers, and because I knew I liked the accommodation facilities,” she said.
Merryn’s favourite thing about coming to ANU is being amongst students and teaching staff who understand the importance of quality, accessible education.
Although adjusting to university life was “initially tricky … I was master of my own bedtime (or lack thereof). So caffeine was the major supporting factor in (not) overcoming this challenge.”
Seriously, though, Merryn says moving away from home and everyone she knew was a huge change. “But the senior residents at my hall of residence were amazing, as were the many social opportunities provided by my hall. Furthermore, the amazing friends I met on session at the NYSF were a big help in adjusting to uni life,” she said.
Reflecting on her NYSF experience, Merryn has a long list of positives: meeting so many people who loved science: fellow students, the student staff, and the practicing scientists who talked to us. “I was also fortunate to be selected to travel to South Africa to attend their National Science Olympiad Focus Week. So each experience led to another, and another. And it’s still happening.”