I can report this month that all of the NYSF 2015 Orientation sessions have been completed – they kick off in September and run for a six week period, and are a really valuable way for the NYSF corporate team to present its credentials, if you like, to our incoming student cohort, their families, teachers and Rotary supporters. At Orientation, we provide important information about the NYSF, how we operate and what the students can expect when they come on session. They give a real insight into the NSYF and what it is about.
This year, I was supported in the delivery of Orientations by Sandra Meek and Geoff Burchfield. Between us we talked to 25 groups – large and small – across the country, ably assisted by our student staff members who have been fitting in their NYSF training course work between year 12 commitments. I thank them all, as well as our Rotary District Chairs and their assistants, for their organisation and coordination in this very big and important task in the NYSF calendar. Once Orientations are completed, we are set for the run up to the January program.
A number of parents let us know during Orientations that they had attended the NYSF themselves, and it is very rewarding to learn that they valued the program so much that they were supporting their own child’s attendance. Similarly, we have science teachers of students advising that they attended the NYSF, or have attended the National Science Teachers’ Summer School, our professional development program conducted each year in collaboration with the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA). I believe that all of these referrals support the claim that our students are our best ambassadors … even twenty or thirty years on.
Another recent development is the establishment of NYSF societies and associations at various universities across the country (see story below), but particularly at those who are funding partners of the NYSF. Established by the university students, the associations aim to continue the relationships among program participants as they move through the tertiary system, and hopefully will also provide a mechanism for ongoing contact once they enter the workforce. We welcome all opportunities to connect with our alumni, formal or informal. Once in the workforce, alumni may consider approaching their employers to become involved in the NYSF, particularly as a funding partner, as we are always looking for new partners to ensure the sustainability of the program.
The 2015 session will provide challenges due to increases in numbers here in Canberra but I am confident that with the support of our partners, staff, Rotary volunteers and the team at the Australian National University (ANU), we will once again deliver a program of fascinating speakers, exciting debates, interesting insights and lots and lots of interaction among the 360 young people who are heading towards a career in science, technology, engineering and maths. Bring it on!