The Australian National University: News Update

ANU Rated in the Top 10 International Universities

The Times Higher Education world university rankings judge world class universities across their teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. Being ranked seventh in the world reflects the universities commitment to conduct research on a global scale and to provide our students with global opportunities.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Marnie Hughes Warrington said, “At the heart of our mission is the commitment to ensure an ANU education gives our graduate’s qualifications that can help them with their careers anywhere in the world.”

Many of our science students also benefit from this global perspective, and high international ranking, by pursuing global opportunities either through one of our many exchange programs or by conducting study on one of our overseas fieldwork trips.

To find out more about our programs and global opportunities, click here.

NYSF 2017 Session A: Partners’ Day Expo

After the Partners’ Day presentations the students gathered for the Partners’ Day Expo , where they were able to meet, chat and network with representatives of the NYSF partners.

The students were able to meet reps (and the presenters) from Lockheed Martin, IP Australia, UNSW Australia, Monash University, Melbourne University, Australian National University, University of Queensland, CSIRO, CSL, Resmed, and Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

The one-on-one conversations with the representatives proved to be valuable for the students – they got their questions answered and expanded their horizons in terms of career choices and opportunities.

All of the students were obsessively engaged in conversation that evening, but I managed to pull two aside for a quick chat about their thoughts on the expo.

“It encourages people to think and create change, and I’m a big advocate for creating change.”

“IP Australia really stood out for me” said Sharon Nguyen. “People are coming up with new ideas all the time, and so the work that they do at IP Australia is important because they can protect it. It encourages people to think and create change, and I’m a big advocate for creating change.”

“Before NYSF I wanted to do occupational therapy, then through talking to NYSF friends and the presenters I realized there was a whole world of opportunity and options out there that I hadn’t thought of.”

Sharon Nguyen with Matt Lee (Assistant Director of Strategic Communication, IP Australia)

As well as career choices, the conversation with the university reps in particular also illuminated life as a tertiary student. It seems as though it not only helped inform the students, but also sparked some excitement.

“Talking to all the presenters and other professionals has got me really excited to start university and the next stage of my career.”

“[Partners’ Day] made me realise how many options are out there, and it got me thinking about and considering many different universities” said Danyon Farrell.

“I’ve always wanted to do a double degree but I wasn’t sure, but after hearing the talks today it really made it obvious how valuable they are and the opportunity that they open.”

“Talking to all the presenters and other professionals has got me really excited to start university and the next stage of my career.”

One happy Danyon Farrell

By Jackson Nexhip, NYSF 2017 Session A Communications Intern and NYSF 2013 Alumnus

Sense of community through the NYSF – Morgan Williams, NYSF 2009

I attended the NYSF in 2009 (Einstein), before completing a Bachelor of Global and Ocean Sciences (Hons.) at the Australian National University (ANU) – where I’ve since been working on my PhD at the Research School of Earth Sciences, which I hope to finish towards the end of next year.

SHRIMP Lab, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU

SHRIMP Lab, Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU

The NYSF certainly opened my eyes to what was actually possible for those of us who wanted to pursue STEM careers. However, for me the most valuable aspects of NYSF were the emergent phenomena – those which simply arise once you assemble 140-odd budding science enthusiasts under the same roof and take them to the frontiers of modern research. A sense of community arose from mutual curiosity and sincere excitement towards understanding how the world works (and a healthy dose of chanting). Of the many things NYSF offered, this was the most encouraging. Indeed, my interactions with the scientific community at ANU and across the world remain the most enjoyable aspect of my research today.

For me the most valuable aspects of NYSF were the emergent phenomena – those which simply arise once you assemble 140-odd budding science enthusiasts under the same roof and take them to the frontiers of modern research.

For my PhD, I’m currently attempting to constrain some of the geochemical systematics of seafloor hydration and subduction dehydration processes within oceanic crust. On a broad scale, these processes enable the generation of arc magmas within subduction zones, which are key to the formation and growth of the modern continental crust.

As part of this, I’m involved in an International Ocean Discovery Program expedition (Expedition 357: Atlantis Massif Serpentinization and Life), which recovered samples from near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge using seafloor drilling. Through this expedition I’ve already had opportunities to travel to Germany, Switzerland, France and Texas and to discuss my research with leading researchers across the world. My continuing work on rock samples recovered from the seafloor aims to constrain the evolution of alteration and hydration processes as the rocks are brought to the seafloor with increasing crustal extension. To do this, I’m using a novel combination of in-situ oxygen isotope (using SHRIMP), trace element, noble gas and halogen measurements.

Onshore science party for IODP Expedition 357 (I’m second from the top-right). The science party for the expedition is led by Co-Chief Scientists Prof. Gretchen Früh-Green (ETH Zürich, Switzerland) and Dr. Beth Orcutt (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Maine, USA), and is distinctly multinational and multidisciplinary. Notably, the expedition is the first to have a female-dominated science party and one of the first to have two female Co-Chiefs. The 31 scientists conducting research as part of the expedition are from 13 different countries and include PhD students, post-doctoral fellows and tenured professors. Photo credit: V. Diekamp, MARUM

Onshore science party for IODP Expedition 357 (I’m second from the top-right). The science party for the expedition is led by Co-Chief Scientists Prof. Gretchen Früh-Green (ETH Zürich, Switzerland) and Dr. Beth Orcutt (Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, Maine, USA), and is distinctly multinational and multidisciplinary. Notably, the expedition is the first to have a female-dominated science party and one of the first to have two female Co-Chiefs. The 31 scientists conducting research as part of the expedition are from 13 different countries and include PhD students, post-doctoral fellows and tenured professors. Photo credit: V. Diekamp, MARUM

In addition to this, I’m working on relict oceanic rocks from Lago di Cignana (NW Italy), which have experienced the geological journey of a lifetime – from the Jurassic seafloor, through Alpine subduction (to ≈100km depth) before conveniently returning to the surface to be sampled by some keen geologists millions of years later. We’re using the relatively intact section of upper oceanic crust (consisting of altered seafloor sediments, altered basaltic rocks and underlying serpentinites) as a natural laboratory to investigate how, where and when hydrous fluids are ephemerally produced from metamorphic reactions as rocks are progressively subducted. By looking at chemical zonation of minerals growing as these fluids pass through, we can investigate changes in fluid composition (especially oxygen isotopes and trace metals) with successive pulses of fluids under different conditions. This gives us critical constraints on where fluids may have come from, which reactions might have generated them and the pathways they may have taken to get there – information we can put back into models and use to design new experiments to better understand how the system works.

Morgan (centre) at the NYSF 2017 launch event in October

Morgan (centre) at the NYSF 2017 launch event in October

Beyond the realms of the PhD, I’ll soon be chasing opportunities for post-doctoral research overseas. Ideally I’d like to continue research at the intersection between isotope geochemistry and oceanic geoscience, applying new techniques to better constrain fundamental processes to better understand how our planet works. There are many options for continuing research within academic, governmental and commercial spheres, and I look forward to exploring some new horizons in the years to come (while having a good deal of fun in the process).

ANU Graduates Ranked Australia’s Most Employable – 4th Year Running

The results are in again for the Times Higher Education annual global ranking of universities based on the employability of their graduates. For the fourth year running, the Australian National University has come out on top of all Australian universities.

A representative from ANU explains the foundation behind this positive result:

“Employers value ANU graduates for their well-rounded education that not only draws on academic excellence but also experience gained from fieldworkglobal travel and internship opportunities. Former NYSF student, Brody Hannan shares his experience here.”

To find out more about what you can study at ANU, click here.

 

Australian National University

Launch for NYSF 2017

The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) launched its 2017 January programs earlier this month at the Australian National University (ANU).

Andrew Metcalfe, AO, Chair of the NYSF Board said the January program would be better than ever due to the ongoing support of our funding partners and organisations that facilitated the program.  Mr Metcalfe made special mention of the recent funding announcement by Minister Greg Hunt of funding for the NYSF’s activities through the National Innovation Science Agenda (NISA).

NYSF Chair Andrew Metcalfe speaking at the NYSF 2017 launch

NYSF Chair Andrew Metcalfe speaking at the NYSF 2017 launch

Mr Metcalfe also welcomed our newest Funding Partner, IP Australia, who’s Deputy Director General, Ms Deb Anton, also addressed the group underlining the value of supporting the NYSF as a program that attracts Australia’s next generation of leading innovators. “This aligns with IP Australia’s position,“ she said, “as we are at the forefront of innovation in Australia.”

“Supporting new talent will result in a strong, positive impact in securing Australia’s future as a global leader in science and technology.”

Attendees at the launch included representatives from NYSF funding partners, ANU academics and researchers who assist with the delivery of the NYSF program in the form of the lab visits and guest lectures; other facility lab visit and site tour providers; alumni of the NYSF Program, many of whom are students or graduates of the ANU; NYSF Board and Council members; and the NYSF corporate team.

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Dr. Chris Hatherly, Anne MacKay, Daniel Lawson, Emily Rose Rees, Ellen Lynch

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Prof. Jenny Graves, Deb Anton, Dr. Alison Shield

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Alumni Sam Backwell, Laura Wey,                Mitchell de Vries

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Andrew Metcalfe AO and Deb Anton

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Andrew Metcalfe AO and Deb Anton

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Mitchell de Vries, Natalie Williams,                Merryn Fraser

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Rowley Tompsett, Madeline Cooper,             Melanie Tacey

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Ken Maxwell, Dr. Damien Pearce, Jo Hart

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Tony Trumble, Prof. Jenny Graves, Deb Anton, Adrian Hearne, Brody Hannan

All images:  Emma Robertson

Alex Schumann-Gillett, NYSF 2010 Alumna

Alex Schumann-Gillett attended NYSF in 2010.

“Growing up, I always had a keen interest in science and was extremely excited when I attended Session C of the NYSF 2010 in Canberra (I’m in the front row with the white t-shirt in the picture below). Attending NYSF really transformed my interest in science into a passion for it. After NYSF, I returned to my high school (Moreton Bay College in East Brisbane) so excited to start university that I wished I could fast forward through year 12 and start doing the science that NYSF had given me a taste of.

In 2011, I enrolled in a Bachelor of Science at the University of Queensland (UQ), and chose to major in biophysics. After completing my BSc in mid-2015 I enrolled in Honours at UQ. My project was at the interface of computational chemistry and structural biology. I used computer simulations to characterise the interactions between a protein on the surface of pneumonia-causing bacteria and a protein on the surface of human throat cells. After completing my honours project in mid-2015, I moved to Canberra to work as a research assistant at the Australian National University (ANU)—where I had attended NYSF five years earlier!

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NYSF 2010

In January this year, I commenced PhD studies in computational chemistry at ANU. In my PhD project, I am using computer simulations to explore the effect that different types of molecules, like fats and proteins, have on the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Coincidentally, the supercomputer used to run my honours and PhD simulations is one that I visited during NYSF.

What my NYSF experience taught me is to get amongst it, put myself out there and to not be scared to ask questions. 

I loved the experience that I had at the NYSF, which opened my eyes to what really doing science was like. Consequently, it was a major driver in the path I’ve taken. Now I get to do science every day, and I love it!

Alex Schumann-Gillett in her office at ANU

Alex Schumann-Gillett in her office at ANU

What my NYSF experience taught me is to get amongst it, put myself out there and to not be scared to ask questions. Because of that, I have been fortunate enough to receive several awards and scholarships for my work. These include a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship to support my PhD work and the UQ Biochemistry Alumni Prize 3 2016. These are humbling accolades, but they show that if you back yourself and can articulate your belief in what you’re doing, others are more likely to back you too. So I encourage you to get amongst it, learn about the world you live in and enjoy exploring!

When is a Junket an unconference?

Often the greatest innovations are made when you’re surrounded by like-minded people. This is one of the key strategies of the National Youth Science Forum – to bring together young Australians who are passionate about STEM and help them to begin to build their professional networks.

In November this year, media website Junkee aimed to capture this spirit in their inaugural youth unconference, “Junket”. It brought some of Australia’s brightest minds to Canberra for three days, trying to tackle the issues facing the country’s future.

Junket pic Brody Hannah

Selected from a wide range of disciplines, the “Junketeers” were from all over the country, and from a huge range of cultures, religions, and sexual identities.

NYSF alumni, Mark McAnulty (2013) and Brody Hannan (2014), represented the Australian National University (ANU) at the conference.

The conference first kicked off with over 100 of the participants pitching some of their ideas around issues they were passionate about, ranging anywhere from tackling the aged-care crisis, funding science, stopping urban sprawl, as well as rebranding sexual health and fighting racism.

This was followed by the “F#ck Up Club”, where each participant was encouraged to discuss their personal and entrepreneurial failings. A common regret that many people had was not taking a risk and trying something new.

“The rest of the conference saw each of us pitch our own ideas that that we were passionate about,” says Brody, “anywhere from education, to indigenous health, climate change and science communication. These sessions gave Mark and me a chance to share our passions and ideas with others, as well as explore issues that we had never considered before.”

Another great touch to the conference was the “Telstra Elevator Pitch” – a real life elevator pitch at the conference venue. “We each had the time of an elevator ride to pitch an idea to a camera”, explains Brody, “with the best pitch winning a prize pack from Telstra.”

With the winner to be soon announced, the videos of the pitches can be seen through the Telstra Elevator Pitch website.

At the “human library”, participants could come and “borrow” a leader for their “story” to be told. From engineers, politicians, even the US Ambassador to Australia, there were many inspirational people to talk to about some of their great big ideas.

Mark says the greatest part of the conference was the opportunity to engage with the other participants, “from simple conversations at breakfast or dinner, to getting into a passionate debate over veganism, or the best way to tackle racism, every single person we met was inspiring, and most importantly, generous with their time. Since the conference we’ve started new ventures with other participants, been to meet-ups, and helped each other tackle issues that we each face in our local communities.”

“It was a very unique experience for Brody and me and we want to thank the ANU for giving us the opportunity to represent it at such a novel platform for exploring youth innovation.”

“If you want to change something around you, statistically, you will be far more successful if you work with others. The question to then ask is, ‘What idea will you share?’”

With plans for Junket 2016 already being made, for more information see the Junket homepage http://junket.junkee.com/ .

By Brody Hannan

 

 

ANU is on the road, come and talk to us about studying science

If you’re interested in studying science at university The Australian National University (ANU) will be at the following major career expos during May. We will have students and staff available to talk to you about our programs and uni life at ANU. For more information visit http://www.anu.edu.au/study/events

University Information sessions on location

ANU Information sessions on location

4 May               Young Careers Expo                             Young Town Hall, Young

7-10 May           The VCE and Careers Expo                   Caulfield Racecourse, Melbourne

12-13 May         Illawarra Credit Union Careers Expo        Illawarra Credit Union Sports Stadium, Unanderra

14-17 May         Careers & Education Expo                     Perth Convention Exhibition Centre, Perth

28-31 May         The HSC and Careers Expo                   Royal Hall of Industries, Moore Park, Sydney

Not your usual “high flying” student

Australian National University (ANU) Science Student and NYSF alumnus James Ansell has added a unique string to his bow, becoming the first young person to graduate from Scouts ACT’s balloon pilot training program and receive his private pilot certification from the Australian Ballooning Federation.

Scouts ACT received funding to purchase the hot air balloon during the Centenary of Canberra in 2013 and their training program aims to train one pilot per year.

james balloon phot

James is studying astrophysics/astronomy and science communication, and says attending the NYSF in 2009 definitely contributed to his decision to enrol at the ANU.  “It offered the chance to study both of these disciplines at the same time – it seemed an ideal place to come.”  That this has led to him being able to train as a balloon pilot is unexpected.

“It was a very unique opportunity … to get a balloon licence,” says James, who studied for two years doing both theory and practical training for his license.

James is looking forward to navigating the Scouts ACT balloon above Canberra once he has 50 hours of flying experience.  His ‘ultimate flight path’?  “Anywhere in the country with tonnes of empty space, good scenery and access for the retrieve crew to come and get me.  And a good bakery to get brekky from afterwards.”

Research by Julie Maynard