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

Professor Tanya Monro new Science Patron for NYSF

Professor Tanya Monro, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation at the University of South Australia has agreed to become the Science Patron of the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF).

“I am delighted to be able to continue to support the NYSF as its Science Patron,” Professor Monro said. “This amazing program makes a real impact on the lives of many of Australia’s future leaders and scientists.”

When speaking to the NYSF 2017 cohort last week, Professor Monro encouraged the students to stick to the three Ps as a guide – passion, persistence, and patience, and to keep an open mind to “choose your own adventure” in science.

Andrew Metcalfe AO, Chair of the NYSF Board, said it was exciting that Professor Monro had agreed to continue her advocacy for and involvement in the NYSF at a strategic level.

“Tanya’s insights and experience were invaluable when she was Chair of the Board and we acknowledge and thank her for her contribution in that role. As our Science Patron, I am sure she will continue to provide context and connections for our future direction.

Professor Monro is an alumna of the NYSF (or the National Science Summer School as it was), attending in 1990. She was Chair of the NSSS Board from 2014-2016.

NYSF 2017 Session C: Welcome lecture

NYSF 2017 Session C started off with a visit to the Australian Academy of Science at the Shine Dome. In this iconic building, the participants were intrigued by the words of the Chief Executive of the Australian Academy of Science, Dr Anna-Maria Arabia and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research and Innovation, at the University of South Australia, Professor Tanya Monro.

A common theme in both Dr Arabia and Professor Monro’s presentations were the importance of gender equity in STEM careers and the role that all of the participants have in ensuring equal opportunity for men and women.

Dr Arabia’s welcome emphasised the importance of thinking about science in a broad sense and not to limit your options by being fixated on one particular career path.

“Think about your passion for science and technology in the broadest way possible, and be open to the many career paths that may be open to you … be driven by your curiosity of the world.”

Furthermore, she highlighted the importance of being a ‘thinker’ stressing that scientific enquiry has “little to do with what you think, but how you think”.

Dr Anna-Maria Arabia

Following Dr Arabia’s welcome, the participants were addressed by Professor Tanya Monro. Throughout her presentation she focussed on her area of specialisation, photonics, as well as explaining the pathways she took in achieving her goals.

Professor Tanya Monro addressing participants

Professor Monro was a NYSF alumna, attending the National Science Summer School as it was, in January 1990. She credits the program as her “first chance to absorb science beyond the classroom”.

She told the NYSF 2017 cohort that while at school, she planned on studying astrophysics, however as she was exposed to new fields in science she found that her interest was elsewhere. Throughout her career she has completed a PhD at the University of Sydney, undertook a fellowship at the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of South Hampton and was the Director of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) from 2008 to 2014 and was also the inaugural Director for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), both at the University of Adelaide. Further information about her career can be found here.

Professor Monro concluded her talk with some advice for the participants to use throughout their studies, career and life underlining the importance of having “passion, persistence and patience”.

 

By Veronica O’Mara, NYSF 2017 Session C Communications Intern and NYSF 2014 Alumna

From the Chief Executive Officer

It is truly a privilege to lead such a dynamic and contemporary organisation.  As confirmation of places are sent to the 2016 NYSF cohort, it’s a good time to reflect on the past year.

2014-15 was a very full and rewarding year – our highlights include the success of our youth and teacher programs, particularly launching Lockheed Martin Australia as a major sponsor, collaborating with Outward Bound Australia for the delivery of the Student Staff Leadership Program, and continuous improvements to our organisational governance.

This year, we have continued to increase our efficiency of operations and improve our reporting processes, with the successful implementation of an improved financial management system. This means that we can confirm that we are operating as economically as possible and making the greatest use of the resources available.

As the NYSF January sessions are conducted for young people by young people, this year we have focused on improving the process of developing our Student Staff Leaders (Staffies). Our NYSF Student Staff Leadership program prepares the 42 Staffies for their facilitation and coordination roles during the January Sessions. It is very pleasing that the NYSF is collaborating with Outward Bound Australia to deliver this program. As part of this program, the Staffies completed skill sets in training and mentoring and also participated in an outdoor orientated experiential based learning program.

This year we also welcomed Lockheed Martin Australia as a major sponsor of the NYSF – the first plank in our strategy to attract sponsors in the program from across the different economic sectors that are powered by science, technology and engineering. This investment by Lockheed Martin is significant and reflects an understanding of the important role of outreach and extension programs such as the NYSF in encouraging young Australians to continue their studies in the science, technology and engineering spheres. We acknowledge Lockheed Martin’s vision in joining with us to continue our support for young people.

Dr Damien Pearce and Raydon Gates, AO, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Australia

Dr Damien Pearce and Raydon Gates, AO,     Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Australia

Another milestone for the NYSF in 2014-15 was to increase for the first time the numbers of young people who could attend the Canberra NYSF January Sessions. As a result of the support from the Australian National University and Burgmann College we were able to increase the numbers to 200 for each of the sessions, limiting the impact of the reduction in places upon the 2014 completion of our contract to run a third session in Western Australia. Research and discussions are continuing around delivering NYSF January Sessions in additional locations in the future.

Planning for the NYSF programs begins some 18 months prior to the January of the year in which it is delivered. Plans for 2016 and 2017 are well in hand and we are looking forward to welcoming another 400 young people to participate in the program in January. We review and revise the program each year, to ensure that the participants are learning about the latest science research as well as gaining the best opportunity to explore their options for future study and career choices.

I would like to thank Professor Monro for her leadership of the NYSF and also endorse the vote of thanks that she extended to members of the Council and executive committees, office staff, student staff and Rotary friends. I would also like to acknowledge the many individuals, from across our stakeholder groups who give up their time to give lectures, and host lab and industry visits across our suite of programs.

These multiple contributions allow the NYSF to continue each year, building on the work done over the past 32 years, delivering a series of programs that make a difference to young Australians with a passion for science, and to the wider Australian community.

Dr Damien Pearce

August 2015

NYSF Alumna Tanya Monro new Chair of the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF)

The new Chair of the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) governing Council is Professor Tanya Monro.  Her acceptance of the role marks a significant milestone in the life of the thirty-year program.

Professor Monro is an internationally acclaimed physicist, who is passionate about improving the community’s understanding of the relevance of physics in particular, and science in general.  And she is an alumna of the NYSF, having attended the program when it was the National Science Summer School (NSSS) in 1990.

Professor Tanya Monro, Chair of National Youth Science Forum

Professor Tanya Monro, Chair of National Youth Science Forum

 

the first time I had the experience of being around other people my own age who were passionate about science

Professor Monro is currently an Australian Research Council (ARC) Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellow, Director of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) at the University of Adelaide.  She will take up a new role at the University of South Australia as Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Innovation in November 2014.

Professor Monro has led significant initiatives bringing together different fields of sciences in a transdisciplinary approach, recognising that the opportunities that lie between different fields of science both generate knowledge and solve real problems.

She says that outreach programs such as the NYSF play a critical role in supporting some of our brightest young people from around Australia by immersing them in stimulating science. “Australia’s future depends on science and technology – we need not just scientists but also politicians, entrepreneurs and citizens working across the range of human endeavour who have an understanding of science and the scientific process.”

“The NYSF serves as a bridge between the science taught at schools and the world of science research and its application in our world. I look forward to working with the governing Council to strengthen the NYSF and its capacity to inspire Australia’s students as they enter year 12.”

Of her own experience at the NYSF, Professor Monro says, “It was the first time I had the experience of being around other people my own age who were passionate about science. Engaging alumni in the program is a tangible way of showing the students some of the career pathways they might consider. One of the biggest insights from the program was that there were many fascinating fields of science that I had not previously discovered and that I should keep an open mind about what area I might want to specialise in until I had a chance to experience a few at university.”

Australia’s Chief Scientist and Science Patron of the NYSF Professor Ian Chubb congratulated Professor Monro on her appointment. “When we talk about inspiring students and getting our skills pipeline right, I can’t think of any person better able to do that than Tanya. I wish her every success.”

Damien Pearce, Director of the NYSF, says that the NYSF is delighted that Professor Monro has agreed to become the Chair of the Council.  “Professor Monro brings a wealth of experience and understanding of the science education environment both in Australia and internationally.  She has substantial knowledge of Australian industry and the priorities we need to be setting so that our science, technology and engineering workforce is well-placed to take us into the future.

“Professor Monro is a great role model for young women and men interested in study and careers in science and technology, which is the focus of the NYSF.  We look forward to working with her.”

Mr Pearce also thanked outgoing Chair, Dr Craig Cormick, for his guidance of the program during his time as Chair of the organisation.  “Dr Cormick’s insights and leadership were extremely valuable and we thank him for his commitment to the NYSF.”

Further information:  Amanda Caldwell 0410 148 173

Tanya Monro FAA, FTSE, FAIP – Biography

Professor Monro is currently an Australian Research Council (ARC) Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellow, Director of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) at the University of Adelaide. IPAS pursues a transdisciplinary research agenda, bringing together physics, chemistry and biology to create knowledge and disruptive new technologies, and solve problems for health, defence, the environment, food and wine.

In November 2014 Tanya will take up a new position as Deputy Vice Chancellor Research at the University of South Australia.

Tanya is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA), the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) and the Australian Institute of Physics (FAIP).  She is a member of the AAS National Committee for Physics, and a member of the SA Premier’s Science & Industry Council (PSIC) and the South Australian Economic Development Board (EDB).  Tanya is also an inaugural Bragg Fellow of the Royal Institution of Australia (RiAus).  Tanya was awarded the Australian Academy of Sciences Pawsey Medal for 2012. In 2011 Tanya was awarded South Australia’s “Australian of the Year” and the Scopus Young Researcher of the Year.  In 2010 she was named South Australian Scientist of the Year and Telstra Business Women of the Year (in the Community & Government category). In 2008 she won the Prime Minister’s Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year.

Tanya obtained her PhD in physics in 1998 from The University of Sydney, for which she was awarded the Bragg Gold Medal for the best Physics PhD in Australia. In 2000, she received a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at the Optoelectronics Research Centre at the University of Southampton in the UK.  She came to the University of Adelaide in 2005 as inaugural Chair of Photonics. She has published over 500 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings and raised approximately $140M for research.  She serves on international, national and state committees and boards on matters of science and research policy and science evaluation and assessment.