NYSF featured in Lockheed Martin Australia STEM dialogue in Canberra

Five NYSF alumni were honoured to be part of the Lockheed Martin Australia STEM dialogue hosted in Canberra last week. Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Marillyn Hewson applauded the National Youth Science Forum’s (NYSF) efforts in encouraging thousands young Australians to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

Ms Hewson underscored the importance of innovation and STEM skills to Australia’s future, noting this was the reason the aerospace and defense industry leader had made the three-year commitment to the National Youth Science Forum in 2015.

During the dialogue, recent NYSF alumni reflected on key moments in their lives that inspired their interest in pursuing STEM fields and how industry and government can inspire more young people to study STEM. In particular, the alumni talked about how the NYSF inspired them, by exposing them to tangible problems, introducing them to potential opportunities in STEM, and by showing how science is applied in a wide array of fields to improve the world.

In photo with Ms Hewson (centre), National Youth Science Forum Alumni (from left):              Ms Ashley Dunne, Ms Bella Mortimore, Ms Matilda Dowse, Mr Andrew George and Ms Kaliopi Notaras

Ashley Dunne, originally from Perth but now studying Engineering at The Australian National University (ANU), attended the NYSF in January 2013, and shared the impact of the program on her decision-making.

“On my return home after the NYSF I began applying for engineering degrees at interstate universities, something that I would never have had the confidence or skills to do previously.

“Since graduating from high school, the NYSF has continued to open doors for me. I have made contacts both in universities around Australia and in industry who have opened their doors at the very mention of the NYSF program. Even when I first moved to the ANU to begin my degree, I think I was far more prepared to start university that a vast majority of my cohort, because of the skills learned on the program.

Without attending the NYSF, I wouldn’t be at ANU, I wouldn’t be doing innovative research at a local hospital and I certainly would not be able to stand here this evening and speak to you. The NYSF program has given me this self-confidence and that is the most valuable thing I could have asked for.”

Matilda Dowse attended the NYSF in January 2016 and completed year 12 at Canberra College that same year. She has just begun a double degree of Engineering (R&D) and a Bachelor of International Security Studies. “The Lockheed Martin dinner was a fantastic opportunity to interact with some of the leading national and international innovators and policymakers in STEM. Being allowed to seriously discuss important issues in the future of STEM education and industry with leaders from our community gave me valuable, critical insight into my dream field, and what we can do to improve it.”

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

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

Lockheed Martin Australia’s commitment to R&D boost

Representatives from the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) were honoured to be invited to participate in a roundtable discussion in Canberra in August, led by Dr Keoki Jackson, Chief Technology Officer of Lockheed Martin. Dr Jackson was in Australia for a series of meetings and to announce the company’s new investment in Australia’s R&D community, through the establishment of the STELaR Lab in Melbourne, to be headed by Dr Tony Lindsay.

The $13million investment in the STELaR Lab will support a variety of research programs including hypersonics, autonomy in robotics, quantum computing and communications and data analytics to be conducted at the Melbourne site, providing opportunities for Australian PhD students. Australia was selected for the establishment of STELar Lab after a world wide evaluation of prospective locations.  This investment is a nod to Australia’s credentials as a smart nation investing in and driving growth and prosperity through innovation and science.

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Dr Keoki Jackson, Ms Karen Duneman, Caitlin Sweeting and Emily Rees at the Lockheed Martin Roundtable in August 2016 (image Lockheed Martin Australia)

Ms Karen Duneman, Lockheed Martin’s Director of Global Science and Technology Engagement and a senior and long-standing Lockeed Martin employee, spoke to the group about her experience as an engineer, and Lockheed’s commitment to a diverse workforce.

The NYSF was represented at the event by two alumni, Caitlin Sweeting and Emily Rees, who were invited to share their experience of attending the NYSF and the benefits it offered.

Caitlin, a graduate of Curtin University’s Bachelor of Engineering (Petroleum Engineering), attended the NYSF in 2011. “Motivated by my experience at the NYSF,  I went on to study engineering after high school and graduated in 2015. During my degree I undertook engineering internships at both Woodside and Shell Australia to gain valuable industry experience. As a university student I was also selected to attend the International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC) Education Week in Kuala Lumpur in 2014 to compete in a project team made up of students from all over the world. Additionally, I was awarded the Engineering Australia (WA Division) Digby Leach medal for the best overall course performance in Engineering at Curtin. I am currently undertaking a graduate program at Shell Australia specializing in Reservoir Engineering and am a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.”

Emily is currently studying engineering at The Australian National University. She attended the NYSF in 2014, and decided to apply for the ANU as a result of her participation in the program. Previously, she had not even considered studying inter-state, but was particularly attracted to the ANU because of its undergraduate research study opportunities.

In the Engineering R&D course, Emily has undertaken projects on semiconductors and green nanotechnology. She is also a student ambassador for the ANU, is involved in the Engineering Association, the ANU’s Solar Car initiative, the debating club, and is a mentor and committee member of Fifty50 – which promotes gender equity in the ANU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS).

 

Highlights from January 2016

As the NYSF 2016 cohort commences its final year of high school, we can reflect on the success of both Session A and C.

This year, the January Sessions offered a refreshed program that focused on three central ideas: engaging with STEM in action; understanding the role of STEM in society; and preparing the next generation of STEM professionals. Based on these three themes, students participated in a number of new labs, site visits and workshops.

Each session began with a welcome address by NYSF alumna and Chair, Professor Tanya Monro, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation at the University of South Australia, at the Opening Ceremony at Parliament House. Representatives from the local community also spoke, welcoming the students to Canberra.

Professor Tanya Monro addressing students at the Opening Ceremony Parliament House

Professor Tanya Monro addressing students at the Opening Ceremony Parliament House

Workshops on ethics in STEM covered the ethics of climate change in Session A and was delivered by the ANU’s Dr Janette Lindesay,  The Session C ethics workshop was presented by Professor Shari Forbes from the Centre for Forensic Science at the University of Technology Sydney and delved into ethics in forensic research using her work at Australia’s first body farm as a point of reference.

Professor Shari Forbes Centre from Forensic Science at the University of Technology Sydney

The issues relating to being an entrepreneur were discussed by an expert panel of business men and women from the ACT region – thanks Inspiring ACT! – who explained their experiences and some of the challenges they had to overcome. A facilitated workshop then gave the students an opportunity to develop and “sell” a product.

The Diversity in STEM seminar focused on some of the challenges in ensuring women and other minorities are represented in top STEM positions.

Skills to critically analyse information were tackled through an interactive discussion through the Critical Thinking seminar. And the highly successful and informative Speed Date a Scientist session proved popular with students in both sessions. This session was designed to help students learn about how to find their own career pathway, with advice from those who currently work in their chosen fields.

New to the program was a visit to the iconic The National Film and Sound Archive where students learned the science behind audio-visual preservation.

Image: Karli Williamson

National Film and Sound Archive

Major partner Lockheed Martin Australia hosted two groups at their NextGen Cyber Innovation and Technology Centre and IBM hosted students at their Linux Development Lab.

Lockheed Martin Australia

NextGen Cyber Innovation and Technology Centre, Lockheed Martin Australia

In total, 196 site and lab visits were conducted over the course of the two NYSF 2016 January Sessions. Our sincere thanks to The Australian National University, our host university in Canberra, as well as the many other facilities that hosted our student visits during the program.

There was also time for socialising and networking at the two science dinners. The ANU’s recently appointed Vice-Chancellor and Nobel Prize winner Professor Brian Schmidt addressed the students of Session A on his “three big questions” while Dr Ranjana Srivastava, author, academic and oncologist addressed the students of Session C about the personal and clinical challenges of caring for patients with cancer.

Dr Ranjana Srivastava, author, academic and oncologist

Dr Ranjana Srivastava, author, academic and oncologist (Image: T8 Photography)

Session C Rotary dinner guest speaker featured 1988 Alumni Subho Banerjee, Deputy Secretary at the Department of Education and Training. Subho asked the students consider the roles of excellence, boldness, contribution and kindness in their futures. At Session A’s Rotary Dinner, Dr Heather Bray (Alumna 1987) a Senior Research Associate at the University of Adelaide reflected on her career to date, taking her from research scientist to science communicator to researcher again. She also raised the issue of mental health in academia in an inspiring speech.

Dr Subho Banerjee (Image Sandra Meek)

Dr Subho Banerjee

Image Sandra Meek

Students with Dr Heather Bray

Our programs were featured in the media many times during the NYSF 2016 sessions.

WIN Television News interviewed Rose from Tasmania and Tim from Armidale, NSW, and the story was included in their national regional news program. Kaliopi from Canberra was interviewed by the Sunday Canberra Times; and Patrick from Woolgoolga, NSW and Grace from Camberwell, Victoria were interviewed by ABC Radio’s 666 Canberra, which was also featured on programs across Australia. ABC Radio’s 666 Canberra interviewed Dr Heather Bray about her address to students, and Dr Rish Ratnam talked to ABC Radio’s 666 about the session on entrepreneurship. The National Science Teachers Summer School was featured in The Canberra Times when they visited award-winning teacher Geoff McNamara at Melrose High School.

Expanded program for National Youth Science Forum in 2016

Young scientists, engineers, mathematicians and technology practitioners of the future will benefit from a strengthened program under the National Youth Science Forum for 2016, which will include opportunities to hone their communication, entrepreneurial and critical thinking skills.

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(image) Geoff Burchfield

(image T8 Photography)

(image T8 Photography)

Sarah from WA - Rio Tinto support Indigenous students attending NYSF

(image Sarah Samsara)

This coming January, The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF 2016) will offer its participants a refreshed and expanded program that focuses on three central ideas: engaging with science, technology and engineering and maths – STEM in Action; understanding the role of STEM in Society; and preparing the next generation of STEM Professionals.

“We have redesigned the program to provide a more cohesive and streamlined experience,” says Chief Executive Officer, Dr Damien Pearce. “By focusing on these three strands, we will lead students through a set of activities, lectures and visits that aim to build an improved understanding of the role of science in our lives, and how studying STEM at a tertiary level can lead them in many different directions.”

In 2015, the NYSF welcomed Lockheed Martin Australia as a major funding partner. “Lockheed Martin is proud to be a major partner of the NYSF, which builds on our well-deserved reputation as an advocate for STEM in Australian and across the globe,” says Lockheed Martin Australia Chief Executive, Raydon Gates.

Lockheed Martin Australia - Chief Executive, Raydon Gates

Lockheed Martin Australia – Chief Executive, Raydon Gates

 

Lockheed Martin Australia NexGen Cyber Information and Technology (NCITE) Centre Canberra

Lockheed Martin Australia NexGen Cyber Information and Technology (NCITE) Centre Canberra

“Our support for NYSF builds on our mission to help solve the world’s most technically pressing challenges and to advance scientific endeavour for a safer world in the future, but also recognises that we must inspire the next generation to pursue STEM careers by showing today’s students how exciting and rewarding these jobs can be.”

For 2016, the NYSF student interest groups have been realigned to reflect the national research priorities adopted by the Australian government in April 2015 – food, soil and water, transport, cybersecurity, energy, resources, advanced manufacturing, environmental change, and health.

NYSF provides its participants with a wealth of information about university and other tertiary level study options, through access to world leading research laboratories, with an inside view of local facilities where research outcomes are translated into real life products and processes. They also have considerable opportunity to network with the researchers and industry people that they meet, as well as each other.

“The NYSF is basically the young people’s first professional networking opportunity,” says Dr Pearce. “They go home fired up and ready to tackle year 12 with renewed enthusiasm and vigour.”

The range of skills the STEM graduates of the future will need are expanding every day. Also included in the 12-day program are lectures and panel discussions on critical thinking, entrepreneurship, communication skills, and the importance of having the diversity of our community represented in STEM working environments.

“We have also managed to pack into the program an extra lab visit,” says Dr Pearce, “offering even more science to the students! And along with our long-standing and extremely supportive lab and site visit providers across the campus of The Australian National University, it is really exciting to welcome IBM here in Canberra, hosting some groups at their Linux Development Lab; the National Film and Sound Archive, which is able to provide a lab visit for a large group; there’s an expanded program at the University of Canberra; and a really exciting visit to Lockheed Martin Australia’s NextGen Cyber Innovation and Technology Centre.”

The two NYSF Science Dinners will both feature inspirational guest speakers. For Session A, Dr Nick Gales, the Director of the Australian Antarctic Division has agreed to address the students and other dinner guests about his rich and varied career working for one of Australia’s most iconic and unique organisations. At the Session C dinner, acclaimed author, academic, and oncologist, Dr Ranjana Srivastava, has generously agreed to share with the students and guests her experiences of life as a working scientist. Information about  the NYSF Science Dinners is available by emailing nysf@nysf.edu.au

Dr Nick Gales

Dr Nick Gales, Director,  Australian Antarctic Division

Dr Ranjana Srivastava

Dr Ranjana Srivastava, author, academic and oncologist

 

The NYSF acknowledges funding and support provided by

Lockheed Martin Australia

The Australian National University (host university)

Cochlear Foundation

CSIRO

CSL Ltd

Grains R&D Corporation

GSK

Monash University

Murray Darling Basin Authority

NSW Trade & Investment

The University of Melbourne

The University of New South Wales

The University of Queensland

The 2015 program’s lab visit and site tour hosts are acknowledged here: http://www.nysf.edu.au/about/contributors

Additional background

In 2014-15 the NYSF

  • Attracted more than 1200 applicants
  • 600 of these 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
  • 135 lab visits and site tours were conducted in January
  • 23 Next Step visits were conducted in major partner centres during school holidays
  • 43% of our participants came from rural and regional areas of Australia, reflecting our national reach, facilitated by Rotary
  • 55% of our participants were female
  • NYSF’s established national networks allows it to reach Australian schools and their students

Information: Amanda Caldwell, 0410 148 173        28/10/2015