Taking the “Next Step” in Sydney for STEM study information

The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) continued its Next Step program in Sydney this July over a two-day period.  The Next Step Program is an extension of our January Year 12 Program – allowing the current year’s participants with the opportunity to further their knowledge about career and study options available to them.

Day one saw visits to our partner organisations ResMed and Cochlear in the morning and the Sydney Observatory and Powerhouse Museum in the afternoon.

At ResMed students toured the facilities of one of the biggest chronic sleep disorder device corporations in the world. They explored the ResMed manufacturing warehouses, had discussions with leading research and development engineers, and tried their hand at assembling various sleep apnoea devices.

During the Cochlear visit participants went behind the scenes for a glimpse into the hearing implant market and saw why Cochlear is a world-wide market leader.

In an interactive exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum, participants were transported back to Sherlock Holmes’ Victorian London to try and crack the case by conducting their own experiments.

Isabel Beaumont, one of this year’s cohort said NYSF’s Next Step program was a valuable addition to the January Year 12 Program.

“The Next Step programs are always useful as they further broaden your understanding of all the possible careers in science.  The are also a great way to reconnect with friends from the NYSF,” she said.

“I really enjoyed the visit to the Cochlear headquarters. We were able to tour their implant manufacturing facilities and see some very impressive machinery.”

During the evening the NYSF held an Alumni Event that you can read about here.

At the Sydney Observatory, in the heart of the CBD, students looked through a telescope over a century old, as well as more modern equipment. They viewed sunspots on our Sun, and the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter. They also discussed career options with Danica, the tour guide, who is completing a PhD in Astronomy.

The following day students visited the University of New South Wales (UNSW).  There were multiple visits available such as the opportunity to build and engineer solar cars, explore the Museum of Human Diseases and listen to lectures about psychology, optometry, medicine and various other degrees. NYSF alumni who are at UNSW studying degrees across science, medicine and engineering, visited the group, and  heard about the amazing scholarship opportunities UNSW offers.

NYSF 2017 alumnus, Ben Kirsh said he got a better insight into university life after visiting UNSW.

“It was really good to see the uni (UNSW) and the student tour guides were great because they showed you the side that isn’t portrayed in the open day brochures. They gave insider knowledge of senior students which I thought was pretty cool … and confirmed to me that attending UNSW next year is very possible. All in all we came away with a lot of great information and advice we can use to make informed decisions about study and career options into the future.”

Ben also felt that Next Step gave him additional information about future career and study options.

“Next Step was very useful as it allowed the opportunity to see other (NYSF partner) universities such as UNSW and talk to students currently studying a range of degrees in differing fields to question them to see which may fit myself the best. It also allowed me to catch up with people I met at NYSF, as well as meeting people from other sessions,” he said.

We would like to thank our partners for their continued support and in particular those organisations that participated in the Sydney Next Step Program, IP Australia, UNSW, ResMed, Cochlear and UTS.

Sharing Knowledge and Experience – Sydney Next Step Alumni Event

In partnership with IP Australia the NYSF hosted the second Alumni Event in July. The event was held at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), where our newest cohort of NYSF participants had the opportunity to listen to older NYSF alumni about their education and career journeys.  The Alumni Event was part of the Sydney Next Step Program which you can read about here.

Professor Louise McWhinnie, Dean of the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation welcomed everyone to UTS, and then several NYSF Alumni spoke about their study and work since leaving high school.

Stephanie Pearce (NYSF 2010)  now works as a patent examiner at IP Australia. Stephanie shared insights about life after NYSF, particularly her career at IP Australia, and the importance of protecting  intellectual property.

Associate Professor Alison Beavis, (NYSF 1997) who is Deputy Dean for the UTS Department of Transdisciplinary Innovation said she felt a part of the NYSF family and offered some sage advice to this year’s cohort.

“This year will be a hard, crazy year but remember in the end it will be incredibly exhilarating. It’s a long journey but you are not alone, you are always being supported.”

Our keynote speaker, Associate Professor Josephine Clayton,  attended the very first NYSF (previously known as National Science Summer School – NSSS) in 1984. She spoke about her professional and personal journey in medicine, and an experience with a dying patient’s attitude to medical care that changed the course of her career.  Associate Professor Clayton is the Director of HammondCare’s Centre for Learning and Research in Palliative Care. Her research aims to explore the best ways to facilitate open discussions around palliative care that aligns with the patient’s wishes as opposed to looking at the issue from a purely medical point of view.

“In an ageing population we can’t cope with palliative care. There are not enough beds.  We need to get GPs involved.”

“I am blessed to have a job that has dedicated time to researching and teaching.  I love collaborative research that focuses on translating research into clinical practice,” Associate Professor Clayton said.

The other presentations highlighted the diversity of our alumni’s experiences, touching on everything from overcoming obstacles and changing paths, through to advice on what employers are currently looking for and following your passion.  All in all NYSF alumni had a great evening, gaining great advice about study options and career, networking and meeting other alumni and catching up with old friends.

NYSF thanks our alumni speakers including Rhys Killian (NYSF 2013), Emily Smith (NYSF 2010), and Jacob Silove (NYSF 2014)  and our fabulous MC Jason Borg (NYSF 2010).  A special thank you also to Professor Louise McWhinnie, Associate Professor Alison Beavis, the staff at UTS who made the evening such a great success and IP Australia for its continued support.

From the CEO

The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) 2017 January Sessions are now behind us and the 400 Australian and international students who participated have returned home to commence their final year in high school, full of new knowledge, inspiration and friendships to carry them forward during this pivotal time in their lives.

Both Session A and C were extremely successful and a testament to the extensive dedication and support we received from so many people who support our programs.  In particular, I would like to thank our Chiefs of Staff, Meg Lowry (Session A) and Martin de Rooy (Session C), and our teams of student staff leaders, whose efforts were instrumental to the success of program this year.

I would also like to recognise contributions by the NYSF Corporate staff, our volunteer Rotary parents, aunts and uncles, members of Rotary Clubs across Australia, Burgmann College, The Australian National University (ANU), our communications and teacher program interns, our many distinguished guest speakers and particularly our lab visit hosts, who provided access to leading research and industrial facilities. I encourage you to read back through the NYSF Outlook site to learn about some of the highlights from session.

Finally, the NYSF program could not exist without the financial and logistical support of our Partners and Sponsors. I thank them for their contributions during January and their continued support of the organisation and its programs.

Running in conjunction with the year 12 program in January was the NYSF National Science Teachers Summer School (NSTSS) – aimed at supporting teachers and their commitment to STEM education in their local communities. A group of 40 teachers from around Australia participated in this long-running professional development program. Teachers were exposed to cutting edge science via lab visits, workshops, and lectures as well as engaging and networking with their peers.

Exciting times are ahead for the NYSF as we continue to develop and grow the organisation. In January, our Chair, Andrew Metcalfe AO, announced the addition of a third January session (Session B) for NYSF 2018 hosted at The University of Queensland (UQ), providing an extra 200 places – 600 students in total at the ANU and UQ.  This is made possible through funding from the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA). The extra places will give more students across Australia the opportunity to explore their study and career options in the STEM fields. This is evidence of the value of our year 12 program and its positive effect on students studying STEM subjects.

Although January is over, the NYSF engine room is still running hot with much planned for the remainder of 2017 and beyond. Applications for NSYF International Programs have opened with overwhelming interest.  March is looking busy – applications for NYSF 2018 will open on 1 March and will be accepted until 31 May. The Rotary District Chairs Conference will be held in Canberra, and our alumni will be out and about promoting STEM study and the NYSF at the World Science Festival in Brisbane. Our Next Step Programs for NYSF 2017 students will run throughout April to July in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, with alumni events co-hosted by IP Australia. The Student Staff Leadership Program kicks off in July and another first for the NYSF is our exciting pilot program, STEM Explorer, which will run for the in Adelaide in July 2017.  The STEM Explorer Program is a collaborative initiative between the South Australian Department of Education (DED) and the NYSF, targeting science engagement for school students in years 7 and 8. We also acknowledge the seed funding we received to develop this program from the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

In other news, we also announced in January that Professor Tanya Monro, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation at the University of South Australia, has taken on the role of NYSF Science Patron.  Professor Monro, a NYSF alumna (1990), was Chair of the NSSS Board from 2014-2016.  We are delighted that Professor Monro will continue her involvement with the organisation. We have also welcomed Professor Sally-Ann Poulsen and Loren Atkins to the NSSS Board. Professor Poulsen is also a NYSF alumna (1986) and will bring with her a wealth of knowledge and experience in industry and academica.  Loren Atkins (NYSF alumna 2005), the new NYSF alumni representative, holds a Bachelor of Law (Hons), and a Bachelor of Science in Geography and Environmental Science, and currently works for the World Bank as an Associate Counsel.

By now, our NYSF 2016 alumni will have made decisions about the next stage of their education.  Whatever field of study or institution you have decided upon I would like to wish you all the best for your future studies and hope that in some small way the NYSF has helped steer you on your path.

Dr Damien Pearce

CEO

IP Australia at the NYSF

After signing on as a major funding partner for the first time in 2016, IP Australia was actively involved in the program for the NYSF 2017 January Sessions. In both Session A & C, IP Australia ran lab visits for the students, introducing them to the world of intellectual property, patents, trademarking and more.

The site visit included a number of activities, starting with an explanation of intellectual property and why it is so important. As an interactive activity the students were each given a KeepCup and asked to think about the design of the product that made it unique, with relation to Intellectual Property rights.

The students had the opportunity to speak with a number of IP Australia Patent Examiners over afternoon tea to discover more on the work they do there. Finally, to finish off the session, the students heard from an entrepreneur about their experience applying for Intellectual Property rights and protecting their inventions.

For many of the NYSF participants this was an aspect of STEM that they had not considered, but realised just how important it could be to their future careers and endeavours. It also showed them another area where they could potentially use their STEM skills in the future, with IP Australia employing hundreds of scientists, engineers and other professionals, all around the country.

“I enjoyed the light this visit shed on careers I had not previously considered, it offered me a fresh perspective on job opportunities in a work environment that I found appealing,” said Jack Roussos (Session A 2017) from NSW.

Representatives from IP Australia also attended the Opening Ceremony at Parliament House, the Science Dinners, and both of the Partners’ Day events where they presented to all of the students, had a stall at the expo and involved a number of IP Australia staff in the Speed-date-a-Scientist session. You can read more about IP Australia’s involvement in the NYSF here in their own coverage of the events.

Matt Lee (Right) from IP Australia at the Session A NYSF Science Dinner

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

From the Chief Executive Officer

As we head into the last few weeks of 2016, here at the NYSF we are ramping up for our January Sessions – NYSF 2017. All of the student participants have been selected for the two programs held at The Australian National University, the first of which begins on 2 January. So there’s no real break for our corporate team and the brilliant student staff leaders, who have been training throughout the year for the task ahead.

Our sincere thanks to our Rotary colleagues across the country for their support and hard work in selecting and supporting our participants in their attendance at the NYSF. The Rotary Orientation sessions have been across the country in September and October, providing an opportunity for this year’s cohort to get together pre-session and for them and their families to learn more about the NYSF and what they can expect when they arrive in Canberra.

So what can they expect? This year, our Programs Team has been planning for six science tours and visits for each participant, in their interest group – over the two sessions, that amounts to about 180 tours provided by our program supporters at the various institutions and businesses in the region, including the ANU, the University of Canberra, the CSIRO, and the Canberra Institute of Technology just to name a few. As well as those tours and visits, the participants will go to lectures given by leading Australian scientists, hear about future study options from our university partners, and the possible career paths they might consider from our business partners. At the Australian Academy of Science, they will learn about its role and resources, as well as the history of the iconic building – The Shine Dome. And at the Science Dinner, held this year at the National Museum of Australia, our guest speakers will captivate with insights on their research activities and their impacts, and their own careers in science. Our popular Alumni Lectures will be open to the wider NYSF community this January, featuring two former NYSF/National Science Summer School (NSSS) participants whose stories and experiences are excellent illustrations of the variety of opportunities available from further study and careers in STEM.

Last week, we launched the NYSF 2017, program following the announcement from the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, that the NYSF will receive $600,000 over four years through the National Science Innovation Agenda (NISA).  The funds are allocated for three specific activities – the expansion to a third NYSF program to be run in January in a second location; the support and expansion of the National Science Teachers Summer School; and the establishment of an Equity Fund that will encourage the participation of young people from more diverse backgrounds in the NYSF January Sessions.

The NYSF Chair, Andrew Metcalfe AO, welcomed the funding from the NISA program, saying, “These additional NYSF initiatives are important platforms in our engagement strategy to increase the understanding of the Australian community about the possible options for young people in STEM study and careers.”

Our involvement in the PwC 21st Century Minds program this year has been rewarding on many levels – the expanded networks, the skills development, and most importantly, the support from our Canberra PwC mentor team to complete our business plan, have been the key benefits. We look forward to the final program workshops in November, and to continuing to engage with the wider STEM outreach network as well as local and national PwC stakeholders into the future. PwC should be congratulated for its vision and leadership in raising the profile of investment in STEM for the future of the Australian economy, and perhaps more importantly, our community.

Finally, last week we also welcomed new funding partner IP Australia for the NSYF 2017 January program. Patricia Kelly, Director General of IP Australia, emphasised the benefits that the new partnership will bring for NYSF students and the wider Australian community.

“IP Australia is pleased to partner with NYSF to further support innovation and commercialisation, both fundamental to the role we play in the Australian community,” she said. (Read more)

I thank all of our funding partners – including major partner, Lockheed Martin Australia – whose support, both financial and strategic, means that the NYSF is able to continue to offer transformative STEM experiences for young Australians to encourage life-long learning.

We are all looking forward to January 2017 and the delivery of another program jam-packed with interesting, engaging and inspiring activities for the 400 young people who are attending, to  show them just what is possible with a career in STEM.

Dr Damien Pearce

Chief Executive Officer

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

NYSF welcomes IP Australia as new funding partner

The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) is pleased to announce that IP Australia will be a new funding partner supporting the NYSF and its activities from the NYSF 2017 January Sessions.

Andrew Metcalfe AO, Chair of the NYSF Board, welcomed the new partnership, saying support from organisations such as IP Australia is essential if the NYSF is to continue to provide students with high quality programs in the STEM education environment.

“Partnerships with organisations such as IP Australia are crucial for the NYSF’s ability to offer extension activities that encourage our leading young science students to continue their studies on to university and ultimately into careers,” he said.

“It’s clear that an organisation such as IP Australia would have an interest in reaching out to the participants of our program – our future scientists and technologists – to both educate about the importance of intellectual property (IP) management, and to promote their organisation as a possible future employer. We appreciate and acknowledge their funding, as we do all of our funding supporters.”

Patricia Kelly, Director General of IP Australia, emphasises the benefits the new partnership will bring for NYSF students and the wider Australian community.

“IP Australia is pleased to partner with NYSF to further support innovation and commercialisation, both fundamental to the role we play in the Australian community,” she said.

“As part of the NYSF 2017 program, students will gain an understanding of how to protect their intellectual property (IP) and recognise the value registered IP rights add to the overall economy.”

“NYSF students are ambitious young Australians who are positioned to be the next generation of leading innovators. We recognise their talents and through this partnership we encourage them to pursue their passion for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).”

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

 

About the NYSF program:

This January, 400 students entering year 12, who have a passion for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects will arrive in Canberra for the NYSF 2017 January Sessions. Throughout the month, over two separate sessions, participants will live on campus at our host university, The Australian National University (ANU), visit local facilities, take part in science tours and activities, listen to fascinating lectures and talks from leading Australian researchers, take part in debates and speed-date events with our funding partners, and have fun at a range of social activities – all designed to facilitate the development of their first professional networks.

From Albany to Ararat, from Broken Hill to Bundaberg , the participants in the NYSF 2017 will arrive in Canberra keen to learn about possible tertiary study options, and the potential for future careers that arise from those study choices. And they will go home, ready to embark on their final year of secondary schooling, with renewed enthusiasm.

Over its thirty-year history the NYSF has a proven track record in providing our future scientists, engineers, technology practitioners and mathematicians a program that offers insights and opportunities to discuss the variety of study and career options available to them in STEM fields.

Current NYSF funding partners are listed here: http://www.nysf.edu.au/partners

 

Additional background

In 2015-16 the NYSF

  • Attracted approximately 1200 applicants
  • More than 600 were assessed as suitable to attend the program
  • 400 places were available for students to attend
  • 60 panels of volunteers from 21 Rotary Districts across Australia selected students to attend
  • 196 science visits and site tours were conducted in January 2016
  • 23 Next Step visits were conducted in major partner centres during school holidays in 2016
  • 43% of our NYSF 2016 participants came from rural and regional areas of Australia, reflecting our national reach, facilitated by Rotary
  • 59% of our NYSF 2016 participants were female
  • NYSF’s established national networks allows it to reach Australian schools and their students

 

 

Further information:  Amanda Caldwell, NYSF 0410 148 173

 

IP Australia: What Students Need to Know

The NYSF welcomes IP Australia as our newest funding partner for the NYSF 2017 program. NYSF participants in the upcoming January Session will be able to learn more about this organisation first hand during Partners’ Day and through a site visit.

But as a bit of background reading, IP Australia has provided the following information:

ip-australia-logo-with-booksIP Australia

“IP Australia is the national body that administers intellectual property (IP) rights and legislation, and provides educational material on patentstrademarksdesigns, plant breeder’s rights, copyright and trade secrets to the general public.

Inventions, brands and designs can grow to become financially significant personal or commercial assets and should be protected so ownership can be established and proven.

IP is everywhere and simply refers to an expression of an idea in some form. Everyone interacts with products that have protected intellectual property status on a daily basis: from the brands of technology we use, to the logos on our sneakers, to the bikes we ride, to the videos we watch online.

As a workplace, IP Australia attracts highly intelligent individuals who embrace an inventive spirit and appreciate considering the value of ideas, brands and designs. By becoming a Patent Examiner or Trademark Examiner you could see the latest cutting edge technologies and developments before they hit the market. For example, companies such as Google or Apple apply directly to IP Australia to seek protection for their new inventions and brands.

NYSF participants who plan to undertake tertiary studies in engineering or science are encouraged to consider career opportunities with IP Australia upon completion of their degree. To explore these opportunities please visit www.ipaustralia.gov.au or connect via Facebook or Twitter.”