Claire Demeo, NYSF alumna 2014, on studying at The University of Melbourne

Claire Demeo is a first year Bachelor of Science student at The University of Melbourne.

“First year university is a very fun and exciting time, with lots of new experiences to be had, and lots of fun memories to make. As many people would have already told you, university is very different from school, and not just in terms of the content, but in the amount of freedom you have, and the structure of the subjects.

you get to choose the subjects you enjoy

I am a first year Bachelor of Science student at the University of Melbourne, living on campus at one of the colleges at the university. I am thoroughly enjoying the course, as you get to choose the subjects you enjoy and are passionate about, which makes studying and doing the work a whole lot easier. Doing science, there are so so so many subjects to pick from, which makes for some very tough decisions at the start of the year. Don’t feel that you are locked into the subjects you pick first semester though, as you can always change and try out other areas of science.

Claire Demeo, at The University of Melbourne

Claire Demeo, at The University of Melbourne

At Melbourne Uni, you also get to pick a breadth subject, which is a subject outside of the science field. You go into a lot more detail in the science subjects than you do in year 12, as to be expected, but all the other students are at the same level as you, so you’re all in it together. The lecturers are very engaging, with some lecturers even encouraging audience participation, which is both entertaining and useful in helping students to understand the content.

Most science subjects also have tutorials, where you are in smaller groups and get to really understand the course material with your tutor and other students. For science, there are around 20 – 24 contact hours a week, depending on your subject choices, as some science subjects have practical classes/labs, while others don’t. Compared to school, 20 – 24 hours a week sounds very minimal, but once again, uni is very different from school, and there is more to be done outside of your classes then there was in year 12.

Work hard to get into your dream course

Being at uni is a lot of fun though – not just all study – and you get to meet so many like-minded, fun people from all over the world. Make sure you join lots of clubs and societies and get involved in university life to get the most out of the opportunities you are given. Work hard to get into your dream course, and I’m sure you will thank yourself later for the effort you put in during year 12.

Good luck, and hopefully I’ll see you at Melbourne Uni next year!”

NYSF’s Next Step Melbourne program very popular

The NYSF Next Step programs for 2015 kicked off in Melbourne in April, with visits to NYSF Partners CSL, GSK, Monash University, The University of Melbourne, as well as the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI), and the Victorian Space Science Education Centre (VSSEC).

Next Step programs aim to promote our Partner organisations through laboratory and site visits in capital cities across Australia. They give the NYSF students a better understanding of the facilities available at different universities, and the kinds of jobs to which they can aspire.

“Having our industry partners open up their facilities to the students is an extremely valuable ‘add-on’,” says NYSF Director, Damien Pearce. “And our university partners love to show the students their teaching and learning facilities, residences and the other benefits of their institutions.”

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Christina from Wagga Wagga in NSW, says, “I am now seriously considering attending Melbourne University to do my Bachelor of Science and would love to gain experience working with CSL.The Next Step Program was a really good opportunity to see facilities and the universities and get a feel for the atmosphere, as well as catch up with NYSFer’s. Really well organised.”

Mahi from Melbourne, says “It was really nice talking to the scientists and seeing the different pathways they took to get where they are. The tour was really fun and the person who gave it went to NYSF ages ago!”

“I definitely like the range of topics covered because it has made me realise that there is so much more out there than what I thought. The sessions covering the specific degrees in the interest fields was extremely helpful because it gave me a clearer idea of majors and pre-requisites. Going to WEHI definitely made me want to work there and I actually have made it one of my future goals.It was so good!!!! I wish it was longer than just the four days though!!”

Oshini, also from Melbourne, says, “Each of the partners involved in the Melbourne Next Step provided valuable insight to study and life after high school, which is valuable as school sometimes doesn’t cover this content entirely.”

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NYSF students visit 2015 Graeme Clark Oration

National Youth Science Forum alumni Kellie Wilson, Hayley Houston and Caitlin Minney attended the 2015 Graeme Clark Oration held at the Melbourne Convention Centre on 10 March 2015.

For Kellie, “It was an absolute pleasure to attend as a representative of the National Youth Science Forum and St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School in Warragul. The Oration is one of Victoria’s most prestigious public science events with fifty schools from around the state present at the proceedings,” she said.

Australian scientist, Professor Graeme Clark whose research led to the development of the Bionic Ear, founded the event and also spoke at the Oration. Sir Paul Nurse, Nobel Prize Laureate, President of the Royal Society and Director of the Francis Crick Institute in London was the guest speaker at this year’s event.

Kellie Wilson with Professor Graeme Clark

Kellie Wilson with Professor Graeme Clark

Hayley and Caitlin recall Sir Paul talking of his humble beginnings and stressed the importance of perseverance and curiosity not only in science but also in all aspects of life. “Regardless of your upbringing, if you are determined to create opportunities for yourself, you can be successful in science,” he said.

Sir Paul’s presentation on Controlling How Cells Reproduce, focused on the scientific breakthrough that led to him being awarded the Nobel Prize and being responsible for placing the world one step closer to finding a cure for cancer.

Kellie Wilson with Sir Paul Nurse

Kellie Wilson with Sir Paul Nurse

Maffra Secondary College in Victoria was awarded the Graeme Clark Science Award in recognition of their innovative school science program that works to promote science within their community.

After the event Kellie was fortunate to talk further with the guest speakers about their research and their opinion of Australian science. “I cannot express the sheer value of having such events available to the public. I urge all who are interested in science to attend the 2016 Oration as the event not only serves to heighten one’s knowledge but it also acts as a spark of inspiration to the scientists of the future.”

The University of Melbourne, a partner of the National Youth Science Forum, is a major sponsor of the Graeme Clark Oration.

Cochlear, the company founded as a result of Professor Clark’s research, is also a funding partner of the National Youth Science Forum.

Students attend Graeme Clark Oration

Students attend Graeme Clark Oration

Further information is available at