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

NYSF 2017 Session A: Opening Ceremony

On Wednesday, the participants in NYSF 2017 Session A were off to the Australian Parliament House for the official Opening Ceremony. After the “compulsory” group selfies outside of Parliament House and a wait in the queue for the security check, they found themselves inside the Main Committee Room for a series of talks.

The Ceremony began with Mr Andrew Metcalfe AO, Chair of the National Science Summer School (NSSS) board, who had some fine words for the students making the most of attending the NYSF:

“The next couple of weeks is an opportunity for you to immerse yourself in all aspects of Australian science, the diversity of Australian science, and the opportunity to make friends and contacts from which you will benefit for a lifetime.”

After introducing the program Mr Metcalfe handed over to Mr Steve Hill, Rotary District Governor 9710, who recognised the key role that the students play in the ongoing success of the NYSF, as well as the critical parts they go on to play for the future of Australia:

“The most important thing in the world is our youth, our youth is our future. Every Rotarian in the world now recognises that without the assistance of our youth, us old folks can’t do it.”

“We need you to carry on into the future and to make this world a better place. For the next two weeks take advantage of what you’ve been given. Take all opportunities with both hands and run with them.”

“For the next two weeks take advantage of what you’ve been given. Take all opportunities with both hands and run with them.”

The students also heard from Dr Anna Cowan, Deputy Director of Education at the Australian National University (ANU)’s College for Medicine, Biology, and Environment, and the ANU College for Physical and Mathematical Sciences.

Dr Cowan has covered a lot over her extensive career, specializing in topics such as the central nervous system, cellular nervous systems, receptors and membrane biology, as well as other neurosciences. She is a renowned and esteemed scientist, and assured the students that they were in for good things by coming to the NYSF and following their passion in science:

“NYSF will be one of the most significant choices that will shape your future as a scientist. From my perspective, you’ve made the right choice. Not only in giving up your time over summer to attend the NYSF, but also in following your interest in science.”

 “STEM underpins a differentiated and adaptable economy. And such an economy is what is required in our rapidly changing environment. Automation and technological enhancements will change the work force, however they will also create new jobs. Most of those jobs will require science and technology.”

STEM underpins a differentiated and adaptable economy. And such an economy is what is required in our rapidly changing environment

Dr Cowan is also passionate about teaching and professional development, and dropped some gems that I’d be printing out and sticking to my wall if I were a student at the NYSF in 2017:

“The best scientists I know are those who are motivated by curiosity – by a need to understand their environment and who are driven by the opportunity which scientific knowledge provides to help humankind.”

“I challenge you while at the NYSF to find further insight into the world of scientific research. To exercise and expand your scientific curiosity, and to become an active and engaged member of the NYSF community. It is people like you, and your generation, that continue to navigate the challenges of our world. I wish you a fascinating and inspirational experience.”

It is people like you, and your generation, that continue to navigate the challenges of our world.

After the formal proceedings the students headed off for tours of Parliament House, followed by mock parliamentary debates about energy policy.

The first lab visits for the students are on the horizon – stay tuned for stories of students doing some seriously sciency things.

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

Faces of the NYSF 2017: Session A

In this photo above, we have the first of our volunteers supporting the NYSF 2017 Session A students and student staff: from left to right Damien Butler, Kirsten Hogg, Nigel Liggins, and Angela Forthun.

First, let’s meet Damien and Kirsten, both former participants of the NYSF (or the NSSS, back in their day).

Damien is somewhat of an NYSF veteran, first attending the program as a student in 1990, and also attending the Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar (SIYSS). He returned as a student staff member in both 1991 and 1992 before being involved in several NYSF seminars as a guest speaker. He started university with a double degree of law and chemistry, but felt attracted to law and now works as a solicitor.

Kirsten attended the NYSF in 1991, and after graduating and completing her postdoctoral studies in physics she took on the world of research as an academic. Now Kirsten works as a secondary school teacher and has been awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award by Queensland College of Teachers (QCT).

meeting all these other brilliant students your age who reflect your interests was a real eye-opener

On the first day of the NYSF 2017 Session A program, I asked them what they thought of returning to the NYSF, as well as how they feel about the NYSF experience as a whole. Their responses were enlightening:

“We were both country kids, and meeting all these other brilliant students your age who reflect your interests was a real eye-opener.”

“There is enormous diversity in the people, and without even mentioning the science the atmosphere of the NYSF was incredible.”

I can definitely relate to everything Damien was saying. Pre-NYSF you rarely have any idea of the types of amazing people and opportunities out there for you. The NYSF is incredible in that you often go to the program alone and as a result have no choice but to grow, and fast.

Since becoming a secondary teacher Kirsten has worked hard to promote the NYSF:

“Often students go to the NYSF alone and sometimes they can come home on a low because nobody in their school understands or thinks of the NYSF as anything special. But it is an incredible experience, and having been there I encourage as many students to go as I can.”

Nigel Liggins and Angela Forthun are attending the NYSF 2017 as Rotary aunts and uncles. They come from different parts of Victoria, and have been involved with the program through Rotary for some time.

Angela Forthun teaches Japanese at primary and secondary schools in Melbourne. She has been involved with the NYSF for the past 12 years, starting out by interviewing NYSF applicants for her local Rotary club and now attending the NYSF 2017 as a Rotary aunt. Angela hopes to learn more about the opportunities the NYSF presents for high school students, with the goal of sharing this knowledge with her local Rotary club in Melbourne.

Nigel is a high school science teacher at Notre Dame College in Shepparton, Victoria. His involvement with the NYSF stretches back to 1988 when he sponsored a student to attend the National Science Summer School. Almost thirty years later, Nigel’s interest in the NYSF has only grown stronger as he returns for his second session as a Rotary uncle.

Partners’ Day is the most important event in the program

“Partners’ Day is the most important event in the program, as it informs students about tertiary options and career paths that they may not yet have considered,” he said.

Damien, Kirsten, Nigel and Angela are providing valuable assistance to the NYSF, underlining the important role that Rotarians and our alumni can play in continuing the work of the organisation that runs the NYSF programs.

They can also dab.

 

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

and Dan Lawson, NYSF 2017 Session A Communications Intern and NYSF 2015 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

NYSF signs new MoA with the ANU

The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) recently signed a new Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with The Australian National University (ANU), to host the NYSF and its activities until 2020.

NYSF Board Deputy Chair, Andrew Metcalfe AO said that the MoA cemented the existing strong and fruitful relationship between the NSYF and the ANU.

“The MoA allows for continued collaboration between our two organisations, offering young people from across Australia very unique access to the world-leading research and science facilities here at the ANU,” said Mr Metcalfe. “It also allows the NYSF Board to have more certainty for our operations, as we look to the organisation’s expansion in the coming years.”

Professor Kiaran Kirk, Dean of the ANU’s College of Medicine, Biology and Environment said, “NYSF has been associated with the ANU since it started in 1984, and the University as been hosting student visits here since then. The relationship with NYSF is an extremely important one for us. The NYSF office moved to be located on the ANU campus over ten years ago and we are delighted to have signed this agreement, committing to continuing the partnership for the next five years.”

Science Teachers – hold the date for NSTSS2017

Science teachers considering applying for the NYSF’s National Science Teachers Summer School (NSTSS) 2017 should pencil in Monday 9 January – Friday 13 January 2017.

The NYSF has run the NSTSS for over ten years, and will again be collaborating with the ANU to deliver another quality program for teachers of science from across Australia.

The NSTSS is part of the NYSF’s suite of programs and coincides with the second week of Session A of the NYSF January Sessions. The synergies between the youth and teacher programs are obvious.

Teacher Mark O'Sullivan - NSTSS Program 2016 (Image: Geoff Burchfield)

Mark O’Sullivan – NSTSS Program 2016 (Image: Geoff Burchfield)

The program for NSTSS 2017 is still being developed, and will be released shortly. For a taste of what to expect, at NSTSS 2016 teacher participants:

  • Learned about the latest developments in science from world-leading researchers;
  • Visited first-class laboratories and teaching facilities at The Australian National University and other sites in Canberra and the region, including the CSIRO, the Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station and Geoscience Australia;
  • Toured the National Computational Infrastructure and saw up close the power and interactive nature of modern data manipulation methods and their applications;
  • Spent an evening looking at the stars at the ANU Mount Stromlo Observatory;
  • Learned how to bring science alive in the classroom with presentations and interactive workshops on a range of STEM topics;
  • Participated in a live cross to the CERN Large Hadron Collider and learned about the ground breaking research happening at that international facility;
  • Networked with like-minded peers; and
  • Interacted with 200 of Australia’s leading science students, participating in the National Youth Science Forum 2016.

Previous participants have reported:

“I (now) feel confident to inspire my students into the fields of science and engineering. There are so many opportunities out there and it is our role to ensure they are exposed to these fields.”

“I experienced the thrill of science and was exposed to cutting edge, real science and it was exciting. It enriched my teaching of science, giving me experiences to enrich my classroom teaching.”

The NSTSS 2016 program can be viewed here. To receive information about when applications open, please email nysf@nysf.edu.au

Astronomical teaching and learning facility for ACT

A new and unique astronomical teaching and learning facility for year 9-12 students in the ACT is moving closer to completion.

The McNamara-Saunders Astronomical Teaching Telescope (MSATT) will allow high school students to undertake extended student-centred projects in astronomy and astrophysics.  A cooperative project made possible through private donors, the ACT Education Directorate and The Australian National University, the teaching telescope is being built at the Mount Stromlo Observatory.

Work begins at MSATT

Work begins at MSATT

ACT high school science teacher, Geoff McNamara from Melrose High School, has driven the establishment of the facility, doing everything from fundraising to design, to building of the facility and the creation of the educational projects.

Geoff said that the telescope project grew from the activities of the ACE Science Mentors program at Melrose High School, in which students are partnered with experts in different fields of science. Operating for over six years, the students doing the ACE program have covered everything from genetics to rocketry, physics to entomology. “Students undertake six-month projects that are based on data they’ve accumulated through experimentation, and culminates in a formal, refereed report.”

“I was frustrated that such a project was not possible in astronomy other than using second hand data, or at best, data that had been obtained remotely. MSATT will change all of that by allowing students to gather their own astronomical data, analyse it, determine the level of confidence, and draw conclusions.”

The MSATT facility will be available to any ACT public school student in Years 9 to 12. They’ll need to demonstrate that they’re prepared to undertake sufficient observing sessions to gather enough data enabling a thorough investigation.

 The initial funding was from local scientist, Dr Denis Saunders and his wife, Mrs Vee Saunders who contributed $35 000 to establish the facility. Geoff is contributing his own astronomical equipment at around $10 000 value, plus teaching, of course! Geoff said, “Since that initial donation, others have come on board realising that this facility exists for one purpose: teaching. Everything from the data and electrical cabling, the site, new equipment, even the concrete, have all been contributed for free.”

Geoff estimates that the facility’s current value is around $75 000. It should be operational in time for the NYSF 2017 programs.

Geoff McNamara is the 2014 winner of the Prime Minister’s Prize for Secondary Science Teaching and has also presented to the NYSF’s National Science Teachers Summer School in 2015 and 2016.

The ANU’s Burgmann College says goodbye to Dr Phil

By Madeline Cooper

The support the NYSF receives from Burgmann College at the ANU year after year is invaluable, and helps to ensure we provide the best possible experience for the 400 students who visit Canberra in January. The staff at Burgmann do all they can to make sure that the NYSF runs smoothly, and none more so than the Principal, Dr Philip Dutton. He’s been a strong supporter of the program, and STEM study more generally, since the very beginning of his time at Burgmann.

Dr Dutton, or “Dr Phil” as he is known to Burgmann residents past and present, is retiring this December after ten years as Principal of Burgmann. I’ve known Phil from the beginning of his time at ANU – I was a Residential Tutor in his first year at Burgmann, and so had the privilege of working closely with him and his wonderful wife, Val. In the years since, Phil has been a great friend and mentor to me and to many people I know.

Phil and Val plan to enjoy their retirement in Wollongong with family, but I’m sure they’ll both find ways to maintain connections with Canberra, ANU, Burgmann College, and the NYSF. On behalf of NYSF, I thank them both for their support over the years and wish them well for the years ahead.

News from the Australian National University

ANU Internships – because there is life after university

It’s hard to know what to study at university. Luckily you can change your mind.

Meet Jessica Cregan who completed a genetic counselling internship with The Canberra Hospital.

Read more…

Jessica Cregan

Jessica Cregan

ANU science students branch out in Japan

A group of ANU students recently travelled to the University of Tsukuba in Japan to complete a course on biodiversity and biotechnology. ANU science students enjoy a vast range of study opportunities from internships to study overseas programs.

Bring your passion for science to ANU and we’ll help you take it abroad.

Watch the video

Undertake research in your first year at university at ANU

Rarely do you get the opportunity to undertake research in your first year of uni but The Australian National University (ANU) offers three programs that allow you to do just that. The Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) ScienceBachelor of Engineering (Research & Development) (Honours) and Bachelor of Advanced Computing (Research & Development) (Honours) are programs developed specifically for students that want that little bit extra from their degree.

These exciting degrees give you the flexibility to discover your own passions and extend your knowledge in the field that excites you most. If you want to find out more about these programs you can visit one of the following ANU information sessions:

Perth – Thursday 18 June

Brisbane – Monday 20 July

Sydney – Wednesday 22 July

Melbourne – Monday 27 July

Canberra – Monday 3 August

For more information and to register visit http://science.anu.edu.au/degreesforhighachievers