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.


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


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


Alumni Sam Backwell, Laura Wey,                Mitchell de Vries


Andrew Metcalfe AO and Deb Anton


Andrew Metcalfe AO and Deb Anton


Mitchell de Vries, Natalie Williams,                Merryn Fraser


Rowley Tompsett, Madeline Cooper,             Melanie Tacey


Ken Maxwell, Dr. Damien Pearce, Jo Hart


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

All images:  Emma Robertson

National Youth Science Forum visits IBM in Canberra

Students who have attended the National Youth Science Forum were very fortunate to be treated to a visit to IBM’s Linux Development labs in Canberra in July.

They learned about the history of the company, and its leading role in some of the key milestones in the development of modern information management systems. They also heard about the work the company is doing in Canberra and across the country today in servicing clients from a very broad spectrum of business and government operations.

The visit to IBM reignited my interest in the field of computer science. As a result, I am currently investigating the possibility of applying for an internship there. Max Jones 

The students chatted with staff working in the lab to gain insights into the kinds of career paths that are possible should they decide to seek jobs in the IT sector. The varied backgrounds of the team members illustrated well that sometimes it’s a passion along with study that combine to direct our career paths.

Next Step Canberra - IBM’s Linux Development labs in Canberra

Next Step Canberra – IBM’s Linux Development labs in Canberra

Next Step Canberra - IBM’s Linux Development

Next Step Canberra – IBM’s Linux Development labs in Canberra

Max Jones from Mackay in Queensland is now studying at the Australian National University. “The visit to IBM reignited my interest in the field of computer science. As a result, I am currently investigating the possibility of applying for an internship there.”

A couple of hands-on activities put the students to the test, offering a fun spin to the visit and showing what can be achieved with team work and clear communication.

Thanks to the IBM team for sharing their experiences with the NSYF.


Q & A with Steven Falconieri, Chief of Staff, Session A January 2015

  1. Did your attendance at NYSF at the beginning of year 12 have an impact on your university choice? For example, did the NYSF show you that there was more than one university to choose from when it came to selecting which courses you chose to study?

The NYSF Next Step program at UNSW provided an amazing opportunity to get an insight into a University that was interstate. This opportunity in conjunction with the Beyond Year 12 presentations held on session motivated me to be more ambitious and apply for a variety of courses at different universities. This turned out to be one of my best decisions as the program and opportunities offered by UNSW and demonstrated at the Next Step program were second to none for my chosen field of study.

  1. What were some of the challenges of being Chief of Staff on session?

The position of P1 on session was an absolute privilege. Working with such a talented and passionate team was definitely a highlight. Among the challenges faced on session, some of the most prominent were keeping up with the evolution of the program over the years and being detached from the students’ experience on a day-to-day basis.

One of the key contributing factors of the program is it embraces change with each session and consequently each year. Although this makes way for bigger and better things, it provides somewhat of a logistical challenge when organising an already busy program.

On the other hand, the limited time to interact and find out more about the brightest youth in the country is more a personal challenge that comes with the role. There is nothing like the discussions of everyone’s day and opinions that happen around meal times. Unfortunately, there is only so much time available on session to hear all the stories and this is less when facilitating the next big thing in the program.

  1. What advice would you offer year 12 students when it comes to selecting a Bachelor Degree and University?

I recall the biggest lesson learnt on session when I was a student being that you didn’t need to know what you wanted to be when you graduated just what you wanted to learn while at University.

Eventually, we all have to graduate but a lot of degrees – especially science and engineering; medicine not so much – have common first year courses. This means that you can make the decision after trying 12 months of university, which is quite different from school. Since these degrees have the same core courses, this will have a minimum financial and time impact on your chosen career or academic path. Obviously, each university and degree is different but the key is to do your research and always be confident that there is more than one way to achieve your goal.

Steve Falconieri with Kirsten Garwood from IBM

Steve Falconieri with Kirsten Garwood       from IBM


  1. On your recent IBM internship, how did the opportunity of your internship come about? What projects did you have the opportunity to work on and what did you learn from this experience?

IBM offers annual internships in its array of business units each year. I learnt of these opportunities at a university careers expo and decided to find out more as I approached the end of my penultimate year of study, as this is when most opportunities are offered to undergraduates.

IBM’s internship programs are quite unique to other businesses as they offer six or 12 month terms as opposed to three to 12 weeks. This extended period of time working with IBM’s Websphere Web Content Management as a Software Developer Intern allowed me to work in both a Level 3 Support and Feature Test team. Both of these roles revealed the business motivations, requirements and practicalities that are masked by a university environment.

Consequently, I gained an exposure to the real world of software development and an industry I can’t wait to be a part of. This opportunity first and foremost cemented my personal goals and career path whilst motivating me to complete my final year of university with a new vigour and industry perspective in mind.

  1. Last words? 

As members of the NYSF community it is our responsibility to make the most of the opportunities that we have experienced. Consequently, I implore all alumni of the program to maintain the networks that were founded at the NYSF as they have the ability to contribute to the society of which we are all a part.