A full house of Governors’ Receptions

Each year, September to November marks the season for Governors’ Receptions in the NYSF calendar. This year with almost 600 participants selected to attend the NYSF Year 12 Program next January, a significant proportion had the opportunity to attend a reception in their local state, to honour and celebrate their achievements of being selected to attend the NYSF, as well as acknowledging the extensive efforts of Rotary in selecting them.

In Victoria, Her Excellency, the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, and her team at Government House generously  extended invitations to all 150 plus Victorian-based students, along with two guests each. A number of Rotarians and NYSF Partners were also invited. To accommodate the total of more than 400 guests, the event was hosted in the ballroom – a truly spectacular space.

Emily Mannix, who will be attending Session C in Canberra, travelled from Bendigo to Melbourne to attend the event. Here is what she had to say:

The Victorian Governor’s Reception for NYSF 2018 students was an exciting event for all involved – this was the first opportunity to meet some of the lucky few attendees like ourselves. The Victorian Governor the Honourable Linda Dessau AC and her husband Anthony Howard met with students at the reception and after a few words of congratulation had the room buzzing with enthusiasm for what was to come.”

Next, on the other side of the country, it was time for the West Australian Governor’s Reception which was held by Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AC. This was a more intimate event for the students, giving more opportunity to get to know each other and have time to talk with the Her Excellency.

Alex Troung from Perth said, “The Western Australian Governor’s Reception was a magnificent event – we all were looking forward to attending and were not disappointed! It was amazing to hear from our Governor, Her Excellency, Kerry Sanderson, who both congratulated us and inspired us with her own journey in the field of science. The event was both warm and grand, and I loved meeting my fellow participants there!”

A week later we saw two events on the same day. In South Australia, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC and his wife, Mrs Le, hosted a delightful morning tea event where students and a parent/guardian had the opportunity to explore all corners of Government House. Around the same time in another part of the country, it was Tasmania’s turn with Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Kate Warner AC hosting students, parents and Rotary members from the Rotary District 9830.

With no number too small, the next event to be held was in Darwin with the Administrator of the Northern Territory the Honourable Vicki O’Halloran AM. Both of our Northern Territory based students were able to attend this very intimate event.

Later that week, it was off to Brisbane, Queensland for an afternoon tea hosted by His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC. Excitement was high for this event with the new session planned for Brisbane in January 2018 and a number of representatives from our partner the University of Queensland also in attendance.

Sadly, the final Governor’s Reception to be held at Government House in Sydney on the 9 November by His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC had to be cancelled at the last minute due to severe illness. Disappointing but very understandable.

The NYSF would like to thank sincerely each of the Governors for hosting our incoming students, along with their fabulous staff whose support is essential for the success of these events.


A lesson in physics for the Governor-General

It’s not every day that you get to teach the Governor-General a lesson in physics … but that’s exactly what happened to one of our National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) alumni at Government House Open Day on the weekend.

Along with the other organisations of which the Governor-General is Patron, the NYSF was invited to participate in the Government House Open Day in Canberra in October last week.

National Youth Science Forum, STEM, Alumni, Government House Open Day

And the NYSF was honoured when the Governor-General, His Excellency, General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) and Mrs Lynne Cosgrove visited our stand to generate some hand-cranked electricity from the Van de Graaff generator, kindly loaned by the Australian National University’s Department of Quantum Science Physics Education Centre.

The Open Day is an annual event and the perfect spring weather led to record crowds lining up to gain a peek inside the spectacular Residence and explore the magnificent 54 hectares of gardens.

Our fabulous alumni volunteered to help out at the NYSF stand, talking to the public about their NYSF experience, sharing their passion for science, making NYSF badges with the visitors, and doing their own fair share of electricity generation with the Van de Graaff generator.

NYSF 2011 alumnus, Mitchell de Vries welcomed the Governor-General to our stand, giving His Excellency an impromptu physics lesson.

“It was such a lovely day for it (Open Day) and it was really refreshing to be meeting people from toddlers to seniors who were all as equally excited to learn about science.”

“Giving the Governor-General a crash course on the physics was also quite heartening, he was interested in understanding.”

Government House Open Day, NYSF Alumni, National Youth Science Forum

Isabel Beaumont, a 2017 NYSF alumna also volunteered at the NYSF stand.

“Helping out was a great opportunity to see Government House and meet our Governor-General. Volunteering for the NYSF, and being an alumni of the program, provides so many exciting opportunities such as this and I love being able to promote science to so many people. Volunteering for the NYSF allows you to meet many interesting people.”

The NYSF thanks His Excellency and Mrs Cosgrove, and the staff at Government House for inviting the NYSF to participate in the Open Day event, and the alumni for their support on the day: Mitchell de Vries, Vivienne Wells, Joe Kacsmarski, Jaslin O’Connell and Isabel Beaumont.

From the Director

Welcome to the June 2014 issue of NYSF Outlook. It has certainly been a busy time for the NYSF.

Firstly, I am pleased to advise that Australia’s new Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove, AK MC (Retd) has accepted an invitation to become the Patron of the NYSF. Sir Peter’s acceptance follows on from that of Dame Quentin Bryce, AD CVO, and we are honoured that Sir Peter has agreed to take on this role.

In addition, the Chief Scientist for Australia, Professor Ian Chubb AC has accepted our invitation to become the NYSF’s Science Patron.  Professor Chubb has had a long involvement with the NYSF, both in his current and past roles, and we value his engagement with the program.

In May, we made the difficult decision to cancel Session B in Perth for 2015. When it was decided to conduct a third session of the NYSF in 2009, Perth was identified as a reasonable host location due to the booming West Australian economy and the perceived interest in a range of study and career opportunities associated with that. This was certainly the case and the program was very successful, offering a different NYSF experience for those who travelled to Perth. But with the passage of time, increased funding pressures and the current uncertainty within the higher education policy settings, our major university partners in WA have been unable to continue supporting the NYSF.

While this situation is regrettable, through the support of The Australian National University, the NYSF will be able to offer 80 additional places in sessions A and C for students from the 144 allocated to Session B. So instead of offering a total of 432 places in 2015, there will be 368 places available. This reduction in numbers does place pressure on our selection processes, however, we are confident that those students who will benefit most from coming on session will be selected by our Rotary partners to attend.

The NYSF International Program (see story below) is in full swing at the moment. A group of students has recently returned from the Canada-Wide Science Fair, after reportedly having a rewarding experience. In the coming weeks and months we have young people heading to South Africa, London, Copenhagen, Heidelberg, Boston and for the first time, Israel.

With the decision to cancel Session B, we have sadly farewelled Tom Grace and Francesca Phillips from the NYSF Corporate team. We thank them for their hard work and commitment to the program during their time with us. Additionally, Professor Jo Ward from Curtin University has resigned from the Council. Dr Elisabeth Truswell has retired from the Council, and that position has been assumed by Professor Jenny Graves as the representative of the Australian Academy of Science. We also welcome Julie Maynard to the Corporate team’s Communications and Partnerships portfolio.

Applications for the NYSF 2015 January Sessions have recently closed; we received about 1,200 applicants, which is consistent with previous years’ numbers. With the oversight of the respective Rotary District Chairs, selection for places on session has commenced and will be finalised by the middle of August.

Until then, we continue to work hard developing the program and planning for the next tranche of work associated with NYSF 2015 and into the future.

Damien Pearce