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


Exploring a new range of possibilities at the London International Youth Science Forum

Emma Wignell was one of 25 NYSF 2015 Alumni selected to attend the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF) in July and August 2015.

The LIYSF has been operating for more than 50 years and attracts over 450 students from almost 65 countries for a two-week session.

For Emma, attending LIYSF and the follow-up trip to CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research Discovery Program, was an opportunity to experience world-class science facilities, and to visit some incredible laboratories across Europe, meeting remarkable individuals from across the globe and exploring her passion for science.

I enjoyed meeting scientists from a wide range of fields and I also had the opportunity to discuss their work with them

LIYSF 2015

LIYSF 2015 (Emma on right)

Emma says that before going to London, she had intended to study  science at university followed by a career in research. However, the LIYSF opened her up to a new range of possibilities. Now she wants to study an undergraduate science degree with a postgraduate degree in law, in the hope of becoming a lawyer – with a focus on the interplay of science and ethics in an ever-changing and modernising society.

The LIYSF program allows participants to pick their own lab and site visits. Emma chose to visit the Queen Mary School of Physics and Astronomy in London, Airbus UK in Bristol, and the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy Research. “I enjoyed meeting scientists from a wide range of fields and I also had the opportunity to discuss their work with them.”

She also attended a lecture by behavioral scientist Dr Simon Kyle from University of Oxford who presented his research discussing the interaction between sleep disorders and mental illness. Dr Kyle answered questions ranging from why we sleep walk to the ‘falling’ sensation we sometimes feel on the verge of falling asleep.

Another standout lecture was from Dr Michael Londesborough from the Czech Academy of Sciences. His lecture was an interactive presentation on boron hydrides and their application in the wider world.

The opportunity to network with students from all over the world was particularly valuable. “I made new friends with people from England, Ireland, Malaysia, Spain, Malta, the Netherlands, Germany, and of course fellow Australians.”

The CERN Discovery Program facilitated by the LIYSF saw participants travelling to Geneva via Paris, taking in the sights. The highpoint in Paris for Emma was a visit to the Cite des Sciences with her favorite exhibit focused on young scientists and inventors and the planetarium section on aviation development.

At CERN the students had a guided tour of the cryogenic test facility, the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment, the ATLAS detector, and the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer experiment, which looks at dark matter, antimatter and missing matter from a module on the International Space Station. They met with scientists from diverse fields and were given the opportunity to ask questions, take photos and learn about what goes on inside the Large Hadron Collider.

“The 2015 London International Youth Science Forum and the CERN Discovery Program have been the highlight of 2015 to date. Being selected to represent my country at this prestigious forum was not only inspiring but also enjoyable and that’s what makes the LIYSF so special to me.”

“I hope that by sharing my LIYSF experience will inspire others who are interested in pursuing a career in science, and I hope that one day I too can play my part in bettering the world.”

Emma Wignell LIYSF 2015

LIYSF 2015

The NYSF from a parent’s perspective

Daniel Lawson from Kingaroy in Queensland attended the NYSF in January 2015 and has recently returned from London as one of the 25 NYSF Alumni representing Australia at the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF). Here is what his mum Nicki Rossi has to say about the positive effects that attending the NYSF and LIYSF have had on her son.

“First of all thank you for giving Daniel the opportunity to attend both the National Youth Science Forum in Canberra and for selecting Daniel to attend the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF) which includes a trip to Geneva visiting the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

it does not matter where you live, if you are willing to apply yourself you can achieve whatever you set out to do

Before the NYSF, Daniel was veering towards studying engineering but the NYSF experience helped him to decide which career path he wanted to focus on – the field of scientific research. He thoroughly enjoyed the lectures and activities that he attended. He enjoyed meeting the NYSF staffies, aunts and uncles and the other students who attended the program.

One of his fundraising events for the trip to Canberra involved running a stall at the yearly Goomeri Pumpkin Festival where he sold a mixed variety of timberwork, bric-a-brac, soft toys etc. He spent the whole day talking to people about his trip and what he wants to do at University. It was great to see him interacting with people. He raised $900 that day.

The Murgon Rotary Club (D9600) in Queensland, who supported Daniel’s attendance, invited him to present about his experiences to members of the club. They were impressed with his presentation skills and how he answered their questions. Prior to going, he was very quiet but on his return he was much more confident. He had clearly matured since his NYSF experience.

Daniel is passionate about influencing other year 11 students interested in the program. He has written a couple of articles for the school newsletter, promoting the NYSF including details of how to apply. He also included his contact information to answer prospective students’ questions.

When he was successful in being selected to go to the LIYSF program, we were very excited. It also goes to show that it does not matter where you live, if you are willing to apply yourself you can achieve whatever you set out to do.

Daniel Lawson 2015 in London

Daniel Lawson 2015 in London

Daniel Lawson at Trafalgar square NYSF 2015

Daniel Lawson 2015 in London

Most people think that kids from a small country school are missing out … (but) his teachers work with him to supply him with challenging assignments

Most people think that kids from a small country school are missing out. Daniel attends Goomeri State School with approximately 110 students, situated 235 kilometres northwest of Brisbane. His teachers work with him to supply him with challenging assignments as he found class work relatively easy.

From what I can glean from photos received and the short messages I saw on Skype he had a great time in London and was very busy. We believe that this program will give him an opportunity to make friends from different countries and will provide him with a great base for travel and job opportunities in the future.

Daniel was selected as the Nanango District Youth Parliament Representative and has been busy working with other young members. He applied for this position, as he strongly believes that scientific research is important to Australia’s future and he hopes to make a difference.

He was also granted an RSL Academic Award of $5000, which helped fund his NYSF & LIYSF trips. Along with other young Queenslanders, he was presented with a certificate and plaque from Bond University on the Gold Coast in early March.

As parents, we did not quite grasp the importance and opportunity that the NYSF would provide for Daniel until we attended the orientation meeting in Brisbane where Rotary outlined what the program was about and how it helps those attending the two-week program in Canberra to consider their future study careers options. We believe that it has been beneficial in so many ways and the friends he is making along the way is an added bonus.”

Nicki Rossi, Proud Mum

Edited by Julie Maynard


Fundraising tips from Rotary’s Harry Howard, District 9700

Cowra Rotary Club’s Harry Howard is an experienced fundraiser who has helped many NYSF alumni raise funds to attend international science programs such as the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF).

The LIYSF is a two-week residential event that attracts over 400 of the world’s leading young scientists aged 17-21. It is held at Imperial College London, with lectures and demonstrations from leading scientists, visits to industrial sites, research centers, scientific institutions and organisations, including world-class laboratories and universities.

Like many students before him, NYSF alumni Brody Hannan from Cowra was accepted to attend the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF) in 2014 while studying toward his year 12 exams.

Brody turned to his local Rotary Club for support in raising the necessary funds. Harry and the Rotary team of Cowra helped Brody to undertake a number of fundraising activities including a raffle of firewood donated by Rotary raising $800, organising a dinner at his local club with auctions and entertainment, and along with his friends, distributed brochures promoting Rotary’s collection of unused batteries for scrap. They also organised a film night with all proceeds going to Brody’s trip.

Local advertising and an interview with ABC Central West radio generated a number of donations including an original painting from a local artist that was raffled.

Harry said, “Brody’s enthusiasm, style and keenness were most important as our club perceived that he was totally committed to achieving his aim. That enthusiasm and commitment brushed off on us and we enjoyed the challenge.”

“The timeframe was quite tight as we decided to raise the money before he departed for LIYSF so fundraising was done over a two month period.  An additional incentive was to raise enough funds to ensure he participated in the CERN Discovery Program in Geneva Switzerland to view the Large Hadron Collider as part of his LIYSF experience.”

“The timeframe given was until the end of November but our thinking was that to continue to raise money after he returned would be difficult –‘let’s get it done before he leaves’. We raised about $12,000.”

“Despite Brody missing several weeks in his final year of high school, he was awarded dux of Cowra High School,” he said.

Brody spoke during the fundraising activities and is now a regular speaker at Cowra Rotary meetings. “Since his return from LIYSF, Brody has been to Rotary meetings a couple of times and has talked about his trip.  He has shown great gratitude to Rotary and is always asking to assist in other activities,” said Harry.

IMG_3086_Cowra Session A 2015 lunch 3IMG_3093_Cowra Session A 2015 lunch 2

“Cowra Rotary is fortunate to have regular contact with a large number of NYSF students. Each year, we provide lunches for the students travelling to and from the January Forum as they pass through Cowra, and we are never short of volunteers for these events. Brody assisted at all four lunches in January 2015 and enjoyed talking and meeting the latest NYSF students, he said.

“Rotary is a respected name and a respected club in Cowra and our club managed the money and the account so that would-be donors had confidence in the fundraising arrangements, which was important,” says Harry.