Keeping the NYSF in the family

When Ben Kenworthy received the offer to attend the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) 2016 he was excited to be following in the footsteps of his older sisters Sarah and Jessie-Anne who attended the program in 2015 and 2011.

“I’d heard so much about the program from my sisters. They encouraged me to apply as they had the time of their lives. I counted down the sleeps until it was time to go.”

Visiting world-class facilities, learning about the diverse areas of science, living at The Australian National University and experiencing life on campus were some of the highlights for Ben.

I’d heard so much about the program from my sisters. They encouraged me to apply as they had the time of their lives. I counted down the sleeps until it was time to go

“I also enjoyed the social aspect too. They were a fantastic group of people. I made so many new friends that will be lifelong.”

Ben hopes to study optometry at Deakin University in Geelong next year. “There is a large science component in this course and attending the NYSF has given me the confidence to embark on my goal of becoming an optometrist.”

Sarah attended the NYSF in 2015 and has just started her university career studying nursing and midwifery at Deakin University and hopes to study post-graduate medicine.

Jessie-Anne and Sarah Kenworthy

Jessie-Anne and Sarah Kenworthy in the delivery room in Mannya, Uganda

Sarah recalls, “NYSF helped me to determine that I wanted a career in the medical field. Attending the NYSF prepared me for year 12 and beyond. I was able to develop personal skills through the communication and body language workshops and hearing from NYSF student staff leaders about their year 12 and university experience. I also experienced other fields of science I had not considered previously.”

I have become more aware of the world around me and all the amazing things in it and how it relates science

“We were also exposed to some of the top science facilities around Canberra and were privileged to listen to and meet some of Australia’s leading scientists.”

Sarah’s outlook on life has changed. “I have become more aware of the world around me and all the amazing things in it and how it relates science. The NYSF has changed my life for the better, I will always be thankful for everyone who attended and played a part in the planning of the program.”

Jessie-Anne attended the NYSF in 2011. Growing up she always loved science and science subjects were her favorite at school.

“The NYSF helped me see the different options available to me at university and where different careers could lead. NYSF improved my confidence which helped me prepare for my interview to get into med school.”

Jessie-Anne is currently in her final year of medicine at Monash University and starts her internship next year.

“Medicine actually involves a lot of science, it has anatomy, physiology, biology and chemistry to name just a few.”

“I’m not 100 per cent sure what my specialty is yet, but lately I have been thinking about paediatrics, oncology, general medicine, geriatrics, but those ideas are constantly changing.”

Medicine has a lot of research opportunities too. “Later this year in one of my rotations I will be working on a research project in paediatric oncology. I have also participated in a research project which focused on creating a 3D printing of a part of the brain.”

Sarah and Jessie-Anne Kenworthy

Sarah and Jessie-Anne Kenworthy, Mannya Uganda

NYSF improved my confidence which helped me prepare for my interview to get into med school

In November 2014 to early 2015, Sarah and Jessie-Anne volunteered in Mannya, a remote village in Uganda, working in a health centre and maternity ward.

“Jessie-Anne and I were involved in antenatal care performing physical examinations on pregnant women. We also spent time in the birthing suite watching deliveries and one of my highlights was delivering three babies by myself. Jessie-Anne delivered seven,” says Sarah.

“We also assisted with the post-natal care of women and children by giving injections to reduce preventable, life-threatening diseases. Our work involved visiting remote villages where people could not get to a clinic, assessing the patients with medical treatment, and giving injections.”

“In addition, we raised $18,000 to go toward 1,800 solar lights to replace kerosene lamps which create life-threating toxic fumes. It also provided much needed lighting in houses to allow children to study at night.”

All siblings have won an array of awards. Jessie-Anne won the Zonta award for Young Women in Public Affairs, Rotary Volunteer Award and Geelong Impetus Award 2015 for Working with Young People and is a finalist for the Victorian Young Achiever Awards announced in May 2016.

Sarah was nominated for Geelong Impetus Award; and Ben was nominated for an Online Community Engagement and an Impetus Award in Culture/Arts 2016 and has also been selected for the Year 12 Diaries cast, a 26-week program airing on ABC3 in 2017 in which 13 students from around Australia, film their year 12 experience.

But wait … there’s more! Ben, Sarah and Jessie-Anne also have a brother Mathew who successfully completed a Bachelor in Nursing/Midwifery and is currently in second year medicine at Notre Dame, Fremantle Western Australia.