Taking the “Next Step” in Sydney for STEM study information

The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) continued its Next Step program in Sydney this July over a two-day period.  The Next Step Program is an extension of our January Year 12 Program – allowing the current year’s participants with the opportunity to further their knowledge about career and study options available to them.

Day one saw visits to our partner organisations ResMed and Cochlear in the morning and the Sydney Observatory and Powerhouse Museum in the afternoon.

At ResMed students toured the facilities of one of the biggest chronic sleep disorder device corporations in the world. They explored the ResMed manufacturing warehouses, had discussions with leading research and development engineers, and tried their hand at assembling various sleep apnoea devices.

During the Cochlear visit participants went behind the scenes for a glimpse into the hearing implant market and saw why Cochlear is a world-wide market leader.

In an interactive exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum, participants were transported back to Sherlock Holmes’ Victorian London to try and crack the case by conducting their own experiments.

Isabel Beaumont, one of this year’s cohort said NYSF’s Next Step program was a valuable addition to the January Year 12 Program.

“The Next Step programs are always useful as they further broaden your understanding of all the possible careers in science.  The are also a great way to reconnect with friends from the NYSF,” she said.

“I really enjoyed the visit to the Cochlear headquarters. We were able to tour their implant manufacturing facilities and see some very impressive machinery.”

During the evening the NYSF held an Alumni Event that you can read about here.

At the Sydney Observatory, in the heart of the CBD, students looked through a telescope over a century old, as well as more modern equipment. They viewed sunspots on our Sun, and the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter. They also discussed career options with Danica, the tour guide, who is completing a PhD in Astronomy.

The following day students visited the University of New South Wales (UNSW).  There were multiple visits available such as the opportunity to build and engineer solar cars, explore the Museum of Human Diseases and listen to lectures about psychology, optometry, medicine and various other degrees. NYSF alumni who are at UNSW studying degrees across science, medicine and engineering, visited the group, and  heard about the amazing scholarship opportunities UNSW offers.

NYSF 2017 alumnus, Ben Kirsh said he got a better insight into university life after visiting UNSW.

“It was really good to see the uni (UNSW) and the student tour guides were great because they showed you the side that isn’t portrayed in the open day brochures. They gave insider knowledge of senior students which I thought was pretty cool … and confirmed to me that attending UNSW next year is very possible. All in all we came away with a lot of great information and advice we can use to make informed decisions about study and career options into the future.”

Ben also felt that Next Step gave him additional information about future career and study options.

“Next Step was very useful as it allowed the opportunity to see other (NYSF partner) universities such as UNSW and talk to students currently studying a range of degrees in differing fields to question them to see which may fit myself the best. It also allowed me to catch up with people I met at NYSF, as well as meeting people from other sessions,” he said.

We would like to thank our partners for their continued support and in particular those organisations that participated in the Sydney Next Step Program, IP Australia, UNSW, ResMed, Cochlear and UTS.

Sharing Knowledge and Experience – Sydney Next Step Alumni Event

In partnership with IP Australia the NYSF hosted the second Alumni Event in July. The event was held at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), where our newest cohort of NYSF participants had the opportunity to listen to older NYSF alumni about their education and career journeys.  The Alumni Event was part of the Sydney Next Step Program which you can read about here.

Professor Louise McWhinnie, Dean of the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation welcomed everyone to UTS, and then several NYSF Alumni spoke about their study and work since leaving high school.

Stephanie Pearce (NYSF 2010)  now works as a patent examiner at IP Australia. Stephanie shared insights about life after NYSF, particularly her career at IP Australia, and the importance of protecting  intellectual property.

Associate Professor Alison Beavis, (NYSF 1997) who is Deputy Dean for the UTS Department of Transdisciplinary Innovation said she felt a part of the NYSF family and offered some sage advice to this year’s cohort.

“This year will be a hard, crazy year but remember in the end it will be incredibly exhilarating. It’s a long journey but you are not alone, you are always being supported.”

Our keynote speaker, Associate Professor Josephine Clayton,  attended the very first NYSF (previously known as National Science Summer School – NSSS) in 1984. She spoke about her professional and personal journey in medicine, and an experience with a dying patient’s attitude to medical care that changed the course of her career.  Associate Professor Clayton is the Director of HammondCare’s Centre for Learning and Research in Palliative Care. Her research aims to explore the best ways to facilitate open discussions around palliative care that aligns with the patient’s wishes as opposed to looking at the issue from a purely medical point of view.

“In an ageing population we can’t cope with palliative care. There are not enough beds.  We need to get GPs involved.”

“I am blessed to have a job that has dedicated time to researching and teaching.  I love collaborative research that focuses on translating research into clinical practice,” Associate Professor Clayton said.

The other presentations highlighted the diversity of our alumni’s experiences, touching on everything from overcoming obstacles and changing paths, through to advice on what employers are currently looking for and following your passion.  All in all NYSF alumni had a great evening, gaining great advice about study options and career, networking and meeting other alumni and catching up with old friends.

NYSF thanks our alumni speakers including Rhys Killian (NYSF 2013), Emily Smith (NYSF 2010), and Jacob Silove (NYSF 2014)  and our fabulous MC Jason Borg (NYSF 2010).  A special thank you also to Professor Louise McWhinnie, Associate Professor Alison Beavis, the staff at UTS who made the evening such a great success and IP Australia for its continued support.

Tales of diving, dark times and discovery from Professor Emma Johnston, UNSW Sydney

NYSF 2017 Session C’s Science Dinner provided a great opportunity for participants to network, talking to researchers, partners and NYSF alumni. However the highlight of the evening was Professor Emma Johnston’s address which inspired, motivated and encouraged the participants to pursue their dreams and passions. She also provided some useful advice for the audience, young and old alike, for when things don’t seem to be working out.

Professor Emma Johnston completed a Bachelor of Science and PhD studies at the University of Melbourne. She is the Pro-Vice Chancellor (Research) at UNSW Sydney, head of the Applied Marine and Estuarine Ecology Lab (AMEE), host of a BBC/Foxtel television series and Vice-President of Science and Technology Australia. Her research focuses on how human behaviour has impacts on marine ecosystems all over the world from the Great Barrier Reef to Antarctica.

Professor Johnston emphasised the opportunities that a career in science can bring and encouraged the participants to continue their scientific pursuits. “Science is the most rewarding career you can have,” and offered some advice when choosing which path to follow. “You want a career that is changing, that is challenging and you are finding out what is happening all the time.”

One theme evident throughout her address was the importance of being brave enough to challenge what is already accepted; only then will you be at “the frontier of scientific discovery.”

Professor Johnston offered the audience some sage advice, applicable to both life and scientific research. “When you are challenged and doubt your abilities, it is important to have a role model, someone you can look up to, who is only a few years ahead of yourself.  They will be an invaluable resource to guide you and inspire you.” Professor Johnston said she had often struggled with a lack of self-confidence, stressing that everyone feels this way. But when things are difficult, she said, “… believe in the people who believe in you,” and “… let their belief in you carry you forward.” Professor Johnston emphasised that this was especially important for women in STEMM who are often under-represented and lack role models.

Thank you to Professor Johnston for your compelling advice to us all, your career has shown us the importance of working hard and challenging ourselves as well as making sure we surround ourselves with a diverse and supportive group of people.

For more information on Professor Johnston’s work,click here.

Veronica O’Mara, NYSF 2017 Session C Communications Intern and NYSF 2014 alumna.

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

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

News from UNSW

UNSW Women In Engineering Camp 

Are you a young woman currently in Year 10 or 11 and want a career where you can be at the forefront of positive change for society? Do you enjoy using lateral thinking, creativity and design? Or do you love problem-solving, working in teams or have an aptitude for mathematics and science?

UNSW Women in Engineering Camp

UNSW Women in Engineering Camp

Join us for a five-day camp and find out about the exciting careers available to professional engineers. The next camp will run Monday 9 to Friday 13 January 2017.

Applications for the 2017 camp open on 1 July 2016 and close on 25 September 2016.

For more information, visit UNSW Women in Engineering Camp event website.

Taste of Electrical Engineering 

Do you love solving problems?

UNSW Engineering is offering a three-day workshop for Year 10 and 11 students with an aptitude for mathematics, a passion for science and a love of problem solving.

UNSW Electrical Workshop

UNSW Electrical Workshop

The workshops will include:

Engineering design challenges and an introduction to the basics of electrical engineering disciplines; such as signal processing, electronics design, computer programming, and power, control and telecommunications systems.

Tours of the school facilities, including the photonics, high voltage and educational laboratories, and a field trip to an industrial organisation providing insight into the importance of complex electrical and electronic systems in everyday life.

When: 26th – 28th September 2016 (3 days)

Where: School of Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications, UNSW.

Cost: $125

To register your interest, visit the UNSW Engineering event website.

 

“It’s worthwhile taking the time to find what it is you like to do”

Alumna Rosie Sackett (2010) recalls her NYSF experience.

“The opportunity to attend the National Youth Science Forum was invaluable. To be surrounded by people from all backgrounds interested in different types of science was an experience I’ll never forget. NYSF students, staff and academics not only opened my eyes to the endless possibilities involved in the world of science, but inspired me to continue further studies in the field.

NYSF students, staff and academics not only opened my eyes to the endless possibilities involved in the world of science, but inspired me to continue further studies in the field.

Rosie Sackett, Alumna 2010

Rosie Sackett, Alumna 2010

Like many NYSFers, it wasn’t all about science. Whilst I knew it was something I wanted to pursue, it became a matter of exploring how I would do so. I enrolled in an Arts/Science degree at UNSW which was a logical choice allowing me to maintain a wide area of interests and at the same time, not limit my options to just science. Having grown up in Wagga Wagga New South Wales, and Arts/Science wasn’t a degree offered at our closest university, so the lure of the big city life led me to make the big move to New College at UNSW in Sydney.

To my surprise and delight, New College attracted many NYSF students so my experience with NYSF didn’t stop at the end of session or at the end of college. I have also enjoyed my continued involvement with the NYSF representing UNSW as a Science Ambassador speaking to students at Partners’ Day.

R - Rosie Sacket

Rosie Sacket (Right) UNSW Science Ambassador

To my surprise and delight, New College attracted many NYSF students so my experience with NYSF didn’t stop at the end of session or at the end of college

If I have learnt anything at university it’s that it’s worthwhile taking the time to find what it is you like to do. I’ve changed my degree to Commerce/Science with the hope of pursuing a career in science business, changed my major three times to end up studying Pathology/International Business and studied on exchange at the University of Edinburgh for a semester.

Whatever it is that you would like to do – whether it be involved in science or not – I think the NYSF teaches you that the possibilities are endless. It doesn’t matter if your path takes you from Wagga Wagga to Sydney to Edinburgh and back to work out what you want to do. But you’ll get there eventually and it will be worth it.”

We will welcome Rosie again in 2016, when she presents to NYSF students about UNSW at Partners’ Day.

“Engineers … use technology to provide tangible benefits”

Alumna Holstein Wong attended the NYSF in 2008 and is a Graduate Processing Engineer for BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) and also a Rotaract volunteer.

Holstein studied Materials Science and Engineering at UNSW and was awarded the University Medal and 1st Class Honours in Materials Science Engineering. She now works on a mine site for BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance in Central Queensland, a 1.5-hour flight (or 10 hour drive) from Brisbane. “Living residentially in a remote mining town has its challenges, and I never would have pictured this lifestyle even three years ago. Despite the distance, I’m an active volunteer for Rotaract Australia as the Public Relations and Marketing Director, and try to attend as many folk music festivals as I can in my time off!”

“Living residentially in a remote mining town has its challenges, and I never would have pictured this lifestyle even three years ago

Rotaract D9685

Rotaract D9685

Holstein recalls her time at the NYSF in 2008. “I had a fantastic time at NYSF mainly because of the energetic and inspiring people I met there. This impressed the importance of picking a university and course where I could continue to be surrounded by intelligent and enthusiastic peers and teachers.”

“I had a fantastic time at NYSF mainly because of the energetic and inspiring people I met there. This impressed the importance of picking a university and course where I could continue to be surrounded by intelligent and enthusiastic peers and teachers.”

“During Year 12 when I was choosing my university preferences, I looked at two main criteria – applicability to industry and the options to go on exchange.” She had thought about taking a gap year, but after attending the NYSF, realised there were ample opportunities to travel through university exchange and potential research internships overseas.

“UNSW was an attractive choice after looking at the university rankings for Engineering, as well as their strong industry links. I was drawn to Materials because the academics and alumni in this interdisciplinary field use technology to provide tangible benefits to society like biocompatible implants and recycling by-products from power generation. The close-knit community at Materials Science Engineering was another plus, although the school has grown significantly since my first year. In third year, I had the opportunity to go on exchange to Swansea University in Wales, and was one of the highlights of time at university.”

Holstein and UNSW Alumna Claire at Kara Mine, Tasmania

Holstein and UNSW Alumna Claire at Kara Mine, Tasmania

Holstein’s role as a Processing Engineer for BHP Billiton involves providing in-house consultation to production crews who operate the coal processing plant on a 24 hour, seven day roster, investigating opportunities to improve plant throughput, yield and utilisation, and identifying the investments to improve productivity in the long term.

“It’s a tough environment and I often draw on non-technical skills I developed at university. A valuable lesson I learnt is to always understand your work (whether it be research or implementation) in the context of what others around you are doing. The one constant across all my workplaces is that people can get really focused in their own bubble, and may not immediately see the benefit of collaboration. Complex problems need solutions resulting from partnerships across multiple disciplines, so being an effective communicator is key.

“Through experiences in frantic production environments, I’ve learnt how to engage people in our work and show how it will add value over the life of the mine.”

Visit to Lockheed Martin NCITE Centre an eye-opening experience

Jakub Marosz is a second year student at UNSW, studying mechanical engineering and commerce. He attended the NYSF in 2013, and in July visited the Lockheed Martin Australia NexGen Cyber Information and Technology (NCITE) Centre in Canberra with a group of NYSF students and alumni.

Lockheed Martin is one of the world’s largest defense contractors; its operations span from aeronautics and information systems to outer space operations.

Jake reports:  “During our visit to the Canberra office as part of NYSF Next Step 2015 program we were taken through a range of technologies that the company is involved with that would have been dismissed as impossible 10 years ago. We learned about robotic exo-skeletons that allow soldiers to run for hours carrying insane loads, the new generation of F-35s that make Australia’s previous aircraft seem antique, and digital intelligence software capable of finding a needle in a thousand terabytes.

Needless to say, I’d found a new dream job.

Lockheed Martin Australia NexGen Cyber Information and Technology (NCITE) Centre Canberra

Lockheed Martin Australia NexGen Cyber Information and Technology (NCITE) Centre Canberra

Lockheed Martin Australia NexGen Cyber Information and Technology (NCITE) Centre Canberra

Lockheed Martin Australia NexGen Cyber Information and Technology (NCITE) Centre Canberra

Lockheed Martin Australia NexGen Cyber Information and Technology (NCITE) Centre Canberra

Lockheed Martin Australia NexGen Cyber Information and Technology (NCITE) Centre Canberra

We had the opportunity to sample some of the latest technology like, the Oculus Rift, which is being explored as a training tool for fighter pilots, a role that may not even exist for humans for much longer. Lockheed Martin is also at the forefront of developing drone technology in both civilian and military applications, such as the unmanned cargo helicopter K-MAX, which is capable of filing its own flight plans with local air authorities, freeing up valuable pilots.

The visit was a very eye opening experience and I had a great time seeing the incredible things a career in science and engineering can lead to. We live in an exciting time where technology is advancing exponentially and we’re just scratching the surface!”

Jakub Marosz, Second year Mechanical Engineering/Commerce student at UNSW, NYSF alumnus 2013

Shivani Shah, NYSF Alumna, 2014 at UNSW Australia

Shivani Shah is an NYSF alumna (2014) from Sydney who is studying Advanced Science at UNSW Australia.

“The degree’s scope is excellent, it allows you to tailor your degree to what your interests are, especially as they keep changing as you learn more.

Going to uni is a lot different to high school; there is no one looking out for you

Going to uni is a lot different to high school; there is no one looking out for you, you choose when you want to go to class and if you want to go to class. It lets you become more mature and organised and you start to learn about who you are as a person.

A lot of NYSF friends joined me at UNSW, which has made the transition much easier. Since not many people from my school came with me, having people that I knew in my classes made it easier to adjust to uni.

Shivani Shah NYSF Alumna 2014 at UNSW

Shivani Shah                                       NYSF Alumna 2014 at UNSW

The way of life at UNSW is great, there is always something to do, whether it is involving yourself in all the clubs and societies – and yes, there is an NYSF Association at UNSW – playing in the sport teams, or even attending events held by the university. The student life at UNSW is very good, there is so many different options based on what interests you have. It’s a great way to meet friends and get involved.

It’s fair to say that UNSW wasn’t always where I had thought I wanted to go, but after attending the NYSF Sydney Next Step program, I started considering UNSW much more, which led me to my final decision of studying here. And I am so happy with my choice.”