NYSF 2017 Session A: Speed Date A Scientist

Speed Date A Scientist is an annual event at the NYSF that allows small groups of students sit and chat with many a variety of scientists from various disciplines and backgrounds. The turnout of scientists willing to be interrogated by the NYSF 2017 Session A cohort was phenomenal, resulting in an average of one scientist per group of four students.

The students have the opportunity to ask these scientists about their field, their career path, and their life in general. This article is a collection of quotes (including some bombs of wisdom) from some of incredible scientists who made the event possible.

Dr A J Mitchell – Nuclear Physics, RSPE ANU

“If you’re passionate about what you do, it makes going to work a whole lot easier.”

“At the heart of every atom you have a collection of protons and neutrons that really shouldn’t be held together – there is a whole lot of positive charge very close together so they should repel apart. The work we do is study that nuclei.”

“We collide them together, see what radiation comes off, and use that as a fingerprint to determine properties such as shape. This gives us a fundamental understanding of nuclear forces.”

“I always enjoyed mathematics and physics, and just always pursued what I enjoyed and now people pay me to do it.”

“If you’re passionate about what you do, it makes going to work a whole lot easier.”

 

Matt Lee – Assistant Director of Strategic Communication, IP Australia

“Doing a double degree you meet a whole bunch of different people, and you can demonstrate to employers that you have skills in many different fields.”

“Doing a double degree you meet a whole bunch of different people, and you can demonstrate to employers that you have skills in many different fields. For me I’m able to quickly read documents and give a sharp overview. It also gave me a strong understanding of global politics.”

“I go around to a lot of startup companies in IT, ag-tech, drone-tech, fin-tech and see a lot of amazing things.”

“One discipline in huge demand at the moment is data science. Everything involves data, but how do you make sense of it? People are needed to take the data, figure out how to interpret it, and make decisions.”

 

Gerard Dwyer – Teacher (Canberra Institute of Technology) and Education Officer (National Zoo and Aquarium)

“I used to like picking up and playing with lizards, but never realised it could be a job.”

“I used to like picking up and playing with lizards, but never realised it could be a job. Then I went to Questacon and got a job feeding the spiders – I love spiders so it was the easiest job I’ve ever had.”

“If you want to work in environmental areas, it pays to be interested in everything. ACT is good, because we have really strong legislation when it comes to the environment.”

“I realised that I can’t fix everything, but at least I can teach a lot of people.”

Gerard’s lizard friend, Sally

 

Claire Howell (Manager at National Forest Inventory)

“Do what you’re passionate about, and if you’re not sure what that is then do what you’re good at because that’s also motivating.”

“When I was in year 11 and 12 I knew I loved being outdoors, and I wanted to do Forest Science at university but I didn’t get in. So I did really well in my first year in another degree and then made my case with the Dean of the faculty and was transferred into second year Forestry.”

“Don’t think that your career will always be your career, because it will change.”

“Do what you’re passionate about, and if you’re not sure what that is then do what you’re good at because that’s also motivating.”

Students meet Claire Howell (Manager at National Forest Inventory) and Stuart Davey (Forest Ecology, Institute of Foresters Australia)

By Jackson Nexhip, NYSF 2017 Session A Communications Intern and NYSF 2013 Alumnus

Join the NYSF at the World Science Festival Brisbane 2017

The National Youth Science Forum is proud to announce that we will be hosting an event as part of the World Science Festival Brisbane to be held in March, 2017.

The event will be for local students in years 10-12 who are interested in studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) at university. And who better to answer their questions than NYSF alumni who are currently studying or have recently graduated from a STEM degree themselves!

The event will be in a Speed-date-a-(young)-Scientist format, giving participants the opportunity to move around and talk to a range of alumni, asking them their toughest questions about completing high school science and what it’s like to study at university.

The event will include three separate sessions, giving more young students the chance to participate, and is currently being promoted through the Queensland schools’ network by the team at the World Science Festival Brisbane.

We are now on the lookout for Brisbane based NYSF alumni who want to get involved with this opportunity to give back to the next gen of young students coming through. We understand it’s a bit early to know for sure if you’ll be available on the day, so for now we encourage you to let us know you are interested,  and we’ll put you on the email list for future updates. Alternatively, if you know someone that you think would be interested, we encourage you to share this article with them.

You can read more about the event here – Five Minutes With Your Future

Details

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Title:               National Youth Science Forum – Five Minutes With Your Future

Date:              Friday 24th March, 2017

Times:           There will be three sessions starting at 10am, 11:30am and 1:00pm

Location:       Collectors Cafe, Queensland Museum & Science Centre, South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Audience:      High School Students in years 10-12.

Call for Volunteers: Speed-date-a-Scientist – January 2017

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Would you like an opportunity to share your passion and experience in STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) with young people interested in a career in STEM themselves? Perhaps you studied a STEM degree but are now using your skills and talents in a different field. Are you an alumni of the NYSF/National Science Summer School and would like to re-connect with the program?

Either way we invite you to join our Speed-Date-a-Scientist sessions in January to share your STEM journey so far with the next generation of  STEM students.

 

img_4763What’s involved?

In an informal setting, you’ll talk to a small group of students about your career path (approx. 10-12 conversations lasting 5-7 mins). The students might ask you about your study, fields of research, and current role, how you got to where you are today, and where you might be heading. You won’t need to pre-prepare anything, just turn up ready to answer the questions the NYSF participants have for you.

When & Where?

There will be two separate events and opportunities to be involved. We welcome you to join for both, or just one of the dates. Please click the dates below that you would like to attend to complete your registration. If you want to come to both sessions, please complete the separate registrations. You’ll find more info about the event on the registration page too.

Register here:

Session A – Tues, 10 January 2017 – 10:30am – 12:15pm

Session C – Tues, 24 January 2017 – 10:30am – 12:15pm

Location: Burgmann College, Australian National University

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.

Speed date a scientist

Are you involved in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) field? Did you study a STEM degree and then use those skills to go on and work in a different field? Would you like to share your experiences with young people who are passionate about STEM?

Each January, The National Youth Science Forum brings 400 Year 12 students to Canberra for a 12-day immersive science experience. Students visit research labs and industry sites, hear from inspiring scientists, and participate in skill development workshops.

A key part of the January sessions is exposing students to the range of career paths available to those interested in STEM. In 2016, we would like to extend the opportunities for students to connect with “real life” professionals and researchers in an informal “speed dating” format.

What’s involved?

Informal discussions where students have the opportunity to ask you about your job, your research and how you got to where you are today.

Each of the 10-12 rotations lasts 5-7 minutes, with no more than eight students per rotation.

When

Two sessions will be held at the Australian National University in Canberra. You can come to one or both. Why not invite your colleagues to participate?

For more information or to register your interest, click on the website details below for each session.  Or you can download this flyer.

NYSF STEM speed dating poster

Session A:

Monday 11 January, 9:30am – 12pm

https://nysfspeeddatinga.eventbrite.com.au

Session C:

Monday 25 January, 9:30am – 12pm

https://nysfspeeddatingc.eventbrite.com.au