An update from the CEO

We are certainly approaching a busy time of year for the NYSF – heading into our 35th year celebrations in 2018.

Our planning for the NYSF Year 12 program is ahead of schedule. We are expecting nearly 600 young people from across Australia in January, within our Canberra and Brisbane sessions. It has been very exciting to be able to scale this program with the support of our Brisbane host, the University of Queensland. We are also thrilled to be introducing some new activities into the program this year. Participants will have the opportunity to choose activities outside of their interest groups and attend a new STEM + day. The STEM + activity encourages students to explore combined STEM related disciplines such as ‘science and law’, ‘science and linguistics’, ‘science and arts’ and ‘science and business’ – to name a few.

I am excited to advise that the NYSF’s National Science Teachers Summer School in Brisbane is now full, and the Canberra program is not far behind with limited places remaining for those still wanting to attend. I believe this validates our approach to teacher professional development. In contrast to some other teachers’ programs, NYSF’s program doesn’t focus on “telling teachers how to teach better”. Our focus is on developing a community of practice amongst our participants, who come from schools and school systems across Australia, about learning across the STEM disciplines through reinvigorating the passions of the teachers – their passions for science engineering, technology, mathematics – along with the passion and potential of their students.

At the time of writing, we have two new confirmed funding partners for the 2018 programs that I am very pleased to welcome on board – Macquarie University and Defence Force Recruiting. Expanding the number and range of organisations willing to support the NYSF’s activities allows us to continue to expand the opportunities for our young participants to make informed choices about their futures.

The NYSF recently accepted an opportunity to speak at a summit about future proofing STEM industries, specifically about the importance of partnerships that yield opportunity for Australia’s young scientists. The NYSF was asked to be involved due to our track record of collaborating with industry, universities and research organisations to provide tangible learning experiences and inspiring leaders and entrepreneurs to determine and invent their futures. Further to this, the NYSF has also been involved in consultations with regard to the Science in Society initiative currently being developed by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. Another engagement opportunity has included the industry skilling strategy of the Department of Defence.

I would like to take this opportunity, as the end of the year approaches, to thank my Board which is very capably lead by Mr Andrew Metcalfe AO. I have very much enjoyed working with such a professional and committed group of individuals with incredibly diverse careers and achievements. Additionally, an even bigger thankyou to the NYSF’s corporate staff who diligently work behind the scenes to facilitate our suite of outreach programs. Without these people, our funders, and Rotary friends, the amazing work that we do here at the NYSF would not be possible.

No matter how or why you celebrate the forthcoming festive season – of Christmas, Ashura, Yom Kippur, Bodhi or Hanukkah – on behalf of all of us here at the NYSF, we hope you enjoy the time with your family and friends and remain safe.

From the Director

Welcome to the December 2013 issue of NYSF Outlook.

This time of year provides the opportunity to reflect on the past year and look forward to the future.

One of the most influential people in both my personal and professional life, who I met in my teens, often reminds me during difficult and challenging times about the analogy of the Fair Weathered Sailor. A Fair Weathered Sailor is someone that is agreeable only when the prevailing conditions are pleasant. As soon as conditions deteriorate these people prove to be unreliable where any ideology of teamwork and taking responsibility for their actions transforms into unhelpful self-preservation. Change is inevitable in life. The challenge that we all have is not presented by the change itself; it is how we choose to respond.

The forth-coming January sessions marks my third year of involvement with the NYSF. Based on my experiences, one of the pivotal aspects of the NYSF, in synergy with science, engineering and technology, is the focus on preparing young people to identify, address and reflect on the challenges that they face as they find their active place in society.

The NYSF empowers young people

In practice, the NYSF does this by empowering young people to listen, reflect, share ideas and even be contentious during the Forum’s visits and personal development activities. It is the ambition of the NYSF to prepare young people to cope with change, through understanding conflicting perspectives, and develop the self-confidence to make their own informed decisions and stay true to themselves.

To say that it has been a busy year for the NYSF would be nothing short of an understatement. This year has seen a change of leadership, an office restructure, a focus on governance, all within a framework of critical review and reflection. Into 2014, the challenges for the NYSF, in my view, centre on the ongoing financial sustainability of the organisation, as well as its relevance, so that we can ensure that we will be around for at least another 30 years!

I would like to acknowledge the professional support and ongoing commitment by the NYSF Staff, Executive and Council towards the success of the organisation.

I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Festive Season

On behalf of all of us at the NYSF, I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Festive Season.

We are especially looking forward to welcoming our latest cohort of NYSF participants in … 18 sleeps, until Session A!

Damien Pearce