NYSF International Programs Offer Exciting Opportunities – 2016 Wrap Up

Each year the NYSF offers a range of opportunities to participants from the January Sessions to attend similar science programs in locations around the world. With 2016 drawing to a close, we can now look back on the year’s events and feature some of the reflections of the students who were lucky enough to attend.


Chris Hadfield (Astronaut) speaking at CWSF, 2016

Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF)

The international program to kick-off the year is the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF) held over six days in May. Each year, up to six Australian students are invited to act as ambassadors for Australian Science at the event. The key feature of CWSF is the inclusion of the national science competition final where more than 500 Canadian participants present their science projects for the year.

“Attending the Canada Wide Science Fair, held this year in Montreal, was an utterly unique experience for me, and one that has given me such a broad range of experiences that I never would have otherwise.” Harrison Rook, 2016

“The Canada Wide Science Fair was a showcase for the next generation of entrepreneurs, academics, scientists and technologists; minds that will tackle and solve some of the most challenging issues facing our planet. For the 500 finalists, participation at CWSF is a great achievement and a life-changing event.” Isabella Aitkenhead, 2016


I knew my teachers would be supportive and what I would get from this program would be well worth the stress of doing assignments in the holidays

XLAB International Science Camp – Göttingen, Germany

Targeted at students aged 17-22, the XLAB International Science Camp (XLAB) held by the University of Göttingen each year in the European summer, offers experimental courses in biology, chemistry, physics and more. Students have the opportunity to conduct hands-on experiments under the supervision of scientists from the University and affiliated research organisations. The weekends and evenings offer a range of social and cultural programs as well.


“This trip to Göttingen was an absolute eye opener into actually being on the frontier of science, an experience I was extremely fortunate to encounter at the perfect time in my life, allowing me to peer into the reality of my intentions for the future while I still have time to consolidate them.” Tom Houlden, 2016


The International Science Summer School Heidelberg (ISSSH), Germany

If it’s Germany you want to go to then there is another excellent option each year. The International Science Summer School Heidelberg (ISSSH) offers a four week program where students can gain practical insight and experience in the natural sciences under the supervision of renowned scientists. Each there are places for three Australians to attend with peers from all over the world in the beautiful city of Heidelberg.

“Heidelberg invited us into their city to allow us to experience both their culture and share with us their love for science.” Erica Coxon, 2016

Students at ISSSH, 2016

Students at ISSSH, 2016


National University of Singapore Science Summer Camp (NUS SSC)

In July each year, the National University of Singapore (NUS) runs an annual science summer camp program that offers a curiosity stirring series of lectures, workshops and lab sessions led by experienced university professors. The program includes visits to NUS’s state of the art scientific research centres. The goal of the NUS SSC is to help students discover their passion and potential in the broad world of STEM.


Students enjoying NUSSSC, 2016


Research Science Insitute (RSI) 

The longest program on offer, running for six weeks in the U.S. summer, is the RSI program. This program is operated by the Center of Excellence in Education and held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. Each year Australia, through the NYSF, sends two participants to attend, and competition for this highly regarded program is fierce. For the first week students have the opportunity to take part in intensive STEM classes. For the remaining five weeks, participants have the opportunity to conduct their own research in a field of their choice with leading scientists, engineers and professors as their mentors and supervisors.

“RSI has redefined my future as a research scientist, and I am certain this program has and will allow me to become greater scientist than I would have before. ” Matt Craigie, 2016



Courtney Graymore at LIYSF, 2016

London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF)

With more than a 50 year history, the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF) is one of the largest programs on offer. Running for two weeks, this residential event is hosted by the Imperial College in South Kensington. Participants have the opportunity to attend lectures, research labs industrial sites and other scientific institutions that are led by some of the most recognised scientists in the UK. An active social calendar is also part of the fun.

“Overall, my attendance at the LIYSF and CERN program will be an experience I will never forget. In addition to giving us the opportunity to hear from incredible scientists from all over the world and visit world-class facilities in London, my enthusiasm for science was renewed by the excitement and wonderful people.”  Courtney Graymore, 2016

EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) 

The EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) is a biannual event run in a different location in Europe every two years. ESOF is a huge event attracting an incredible 6,000 participants including: researchers, business leaders, government officials, media, students and scientists Europe-wide. At each event there are opportunities for six NYSF participants to attend. In 2016, Manchester, UK was the chosen city. NYSFers will now have to wait until 2018 when the next event is held in Toulouse, France.

“The EuroScience Open Forum completely changed my outlook on science, and for that matter the world! Being the largest general science meeting in Europe, the forum attracted some of the best and most highly regarded researchers and students from across Europe.” Wesley Flavell, 2016

ESOF may have only lasted for ten days, but the memories will surely last me for a lifetime.” Kate Morcom, 2016

Applications for the International Programs open in early February, following the January Sessions each year. We encourage all current NYSF participants to look at the NYSF database for reports completed by previous international participants to inform their own considerations to apply. While it is often a big financial and time commitment during year 12, the opportunities and benefits are momentous.

“Many others from NYSF said that they didn’t want to apply for international programs because they would miss a lot of school. Personally I wasn’t fazed by this because I knew my teachers would be supportive and what I would get from this program would be well worth the stress of doing assignments in the holidays.” Erica Coxon, 2016

Travel costs for students from New South Wales were supported by the NSW Department of Industry, Office of Science and Research.  NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer


O Canada!

Six NYSF students attended the Canada Wide Science Fair (CWSF) in May 2014 as ambassadors for Australian science. Emily-Grace Nicholson Gartley, Tarra Brain, Shoshana Rapley, Courtney Paton, Riley Le Lay and Kenny Purohit applied to attend the NYSF International Program in February 2014, and were selected for CWSF.

CWSF is Canada’s leading youth science event, and functions as the national finals of an annual science competition. More than 500 successful Canadian participants present a scientific project, which has previously been ranked highly in regional science fairs.

As guests of this year’s host city of Windsor, Ontario, the Australian group visited local primary and high schools, meeting with students and educating them about Australia and its science activities.

“From the moment we arrived at the Fair, we were treated like celebrities. The Canadian students wanted to talk to us, hang out with us and learn as much as they could about our country. The atmosphere was fantastic, a mix of culture, ideas, opinions and most of all, science,” said Emily-Grace.

Canada 3 Canada 2

Emily-Grace said she was astounded at the high calibre of the students at the fair. “There were so many talented, innovative and passionate students, who had been working on their projects for years. Fifteen year olds were delving into areas of science I had never heard of.”

The NYSF students held their own stall as an introduction to Australian science and culture. This included science projects such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Pathfinder, and unplanned events such as a ‘great vegemite challenge’, Aussie trivia, and teaching the national anthem.

The main task of the Australian group was to judge the projects of Canadian students who had elected to be considered to attend the NYSF 2015. After a round of interviews, three students – Mohamad Kadri, Katherine Brent and James Lee will travel to Canberra to participate in the 2015 January Sessions.

Canada 6

Canada 5

NYSF has a well-established relationship with CWSF, sending NYSF students there and hosting Canadians for many years. Past Canadian attendee Jessie McAlpine attended the NYSF in 2014, is now 18 and in her first year at the University of Toronto. She recently gave a TEDx talk about the importance of Science Fairs and her own research into the development of new malaria drugs. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYzLcpN8dso).

The NYSF group also visited some of Canada’s sights such as the Niagara Falls – experiencing the power of the “Hornblower” jet boat taking the group under the falls; and hiking in Point Pelee National Park. From Calgary, the students travelled through Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, Squillax, and finally to Vancouver for a hike in the snow at Mount Sulphur.

The group walked away from their adventures with new friendships and experiences that they won’t easily forget.

“The trip inspired me to strive and achieve through my studies, while enjoying my life and taking value in my surroundings,” said Tarra Brain.


Story:  Julie Maynard; Original reports and photos: Tarra Brain and Emily-Grace Nicholson-Gartley