Awards & Recognition: NYSF Alumni in the News

Here at the NYSF we love to see all of our NYSF Alumni following their passion in their studies, careers and communities. It’s also fantastic when they are formally recognised for their hard work and over the past months a number of NYSF Alumni have been recognised with formal awards and scholarships.

Simon McKenzie (NYSF Alumnus 2010), who is currently completing his PhD with the ANU in the field of computational chemistry, has received a Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship aimed at supporting exceptional students pursuing post-graduate study. The scholarship includes a nine-month leadership development program as well as an international experience for up to six months.

Jasmine Elliot — NYSF 2017 Alumna

Several former NYSF participants have received Young Citizen of the Year awards in their respective regions. Jasmine Elliot, who completed the program this January, has been named Young Citizen of the Year by the Gladstone Regional Council at the Australia Day awards ceremony on the 25th of January. Jasmine is involved in several groups including the Gladstone Region Youth Council and the Headspace Youth Reference Group. She is also nominated for another award in the Access Community Services and Multicultural Youth Queensland Cultural Diversity Awards which will be announced on May 5th.

Within his own region, Phillip Johnson (NYSF Alumnus 2013) was named Young Citizen of the Year by the Newcastle City Council. This is thanks to his advocacy for students on a range of different issues. Phil currently attends the University of Newcastle, studying Civil Engineering, where he has taken on the role of Student Association President.

Katie Rae (NYSF Alumna 2014), who is an active member of the Toowoomba Guiding Community, has also been honoured with the Young Citizen of the Year award within her own region. And in the region of Cowra, it was Maddison Johnson (NYSF Alumna 2016) who took out the same award owing to her representation of Cowra at several local, state and international events. Maddison has been an active Youth Council member for the past 3 years, was lucky enough to be chosen as one of just six Australians to attend the United Nations Global Youth Leadership Forum held in the United States and was the Lions Youth of the Year and Youth Peace Ambassador in 2016.

Olivia Flower — NYSF 2016 Alumna

Ben Kenworthy (NYSF Alumnus 2016) is one of 14 year 12 students featured in an ABC TV documentary, My Year 12 Life. The program follows the 14 students through their year 12 at high school via a video diary. Insightful and informative, you can catch it through the various ABC TV platforms.

Olivia Flower (NYSF Alumna 2016 and student staff leader 2017) was awarded the Ken Ward Memorial Scholarship in herhome community of Freshwater in Sydney’s northern suburbs. The scholarship goes towards her university costs and recognises Olivia’s academic achievement, leadership, community service, charitable and voluntary work, and sporting prowess.

We would like to congratulate all of these alumni for their outstanding achievements.

NYSF Alumni news

NSW Minister’s Award for Excellence in Student Achievement

National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) 2016 alumna, Olivia Flower, received the prestigious New South Wales Minister’s Award for Excellence in Student Achievement in September.

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Olivia was one of 35 students who was recognised by NSW Minister of Education, The Hon Adrian Piccoli, and Mr Mark Scott, Secretary, Department of Education.  The awards are given to students who demonstrate a high achievement in academic excellence, sporting successes, arts, leadership and commitment to the school and education community in NSW public schools whilst displaying values such as integrity, excellence, respect and responsibility.

Michelle Stanhope from the Public Education Foundation said, “These awards are a tribute to the talents, expertise, dedication and tireless commitment to excellence that can be found across the breadth of NSW public schools.”

School Principal of the Northern Beaches Secondary College, Mackellar Girls Campus, Mrs Del Gallo nominated Olivia for the award.

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As co-captain of her school this year, Olivia has been working very closely with Mrs Del Gallo, initiating many community and charity projects.  “I think this work,” she says, “along with my involvement in NYSF and the NYSF Student Staff Leadership Program, led to her decision to nominate me for the award. I was genuinely surprised by the nomination, however, and honoured to have been selected.”

“It was also great to be able to meet the other 12 recipients of the Minister’s Award for Excellence in Student Achievement from all across the state,” Olivia said.

The NYSF would like to congratulate Olivia on her outstanding achievement and we are looking forward to seeing her again at January’s National Youth Science Forum, Session A, as one of our Student Staff members.

Tuckwell Scholars for 2016

Congratulations to NYSF 2016 alumnus Michael Taylor, who was successful this year in being selected as a Tuckwell Scholar at The Australian National University.

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These prestigious scholarships are the result of significant philanthropic support from Graeme and Louise Tuckwell and aim to support students to reach their full potential both on an individual and community basis. Michael joins a number of former NYSF participants who are Tuckwell Scholars on campus at the ANU.

Tuckwell Scholarships are awarded each year – application information is available at http://tuckwell.anu.edu.au

 

Thomas Tsang – an HSC Ninja

Recently featured in regional newspaper, Manning River Times, was former NYSF participant Thomas Tsang. Thomas attended NYSF in January 2016 and is currently in the final stages of his HSC.

What sets Thomas apart is the website that he and brother Kenneth have created, initially as a study aid for themselves. The website is called HSCninja and offers students the opportunity to practice using questions that were used in previous years’ exams.

Kenneth told the Manning River Times, “With HSCninja, users select the syllabus dot point they want to revise, and have instant access to a list of past questions on that topic.”

hsc-ninjaThomas refers to his NYSF experience as providing him with the motivation to make HSCninja available for the general public, after noticing a disparity in the number of students doing STEM subjects in city vs rural schools. He hopes the site will be a valuable resource for rural students, supporting them to continue pursuing STEM subjects.

Anyone interested in Thomas and Kenneth’s cool school tool can click through to the HSCninja website here.

The original article can be found here

Receptions across the country for NYSF 2014 students

Each year, NYSF students and Rotary representatives are privileged to be invited to attend functions hosted by State Governors and the Administrator in the Northern Territory at Government House in most states.

The functions aim to celebrate the students’ selection to attend the NYSF and are seen as acknowledgement of their hard work and high level of achievement. Many students travel from regional areas to attend.

Each Governor and Administrator spends time with the students, giving a brief address that focuses on a particular area of interest or concern.

NYSF Director, Damien Pearce says that these receptions are a very unique opportunity available to NYSF students and recognizes the importance that science education plays in our community.  “We sincerely thank all of the Governors and the NT Administrator and their staff members for their support this year.”

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Tasmanian Governor’s Reception for NYSF, September 2013

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West Australian Governor’s Reception for NYSF, September 2013

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South Australian Governor’s Reception for NYSF, October 2013

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Northern Territory’s Administrator’s Reception, October 2013

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Queensland Governor’s NYSF Reception, October 2013

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New South Wales Governor’s Reception, September 2013

NYSF International Programs open up opportunities

In June this year eight National Youth Science Forum students travelled to South Africa to attend the National Science Olympiad Focus Week and spend two unforgettable weeks traveling around the south of Africa.

 Central … was the interaction by the NYSF students with such a diverse group of like-minded students from a wide variety of backgrounds.

Before heading to the Focus Week, the students stopped off in Cape Town, including a visit to the infamous Robben Island in what one of the students, Ashly Vu, described as, “a particularly sombre experience”. There was “a strange feeling of serenity on the island that has witnessed so much pain and hardship.” After visiting a local township and taking in the majestic views from Table Mountain, the students were excited to fly on to Johannesburg for the Focus Week.

The National Science Olympiad Focus Week is held for the top 100 science students from over 30,000 participants from across Africa who took the Science Olympiad exam.  Like NYSF, it aims to introduce the students to how much they can achieve in a career in science. Eight Australian NYSF students took part in the event.

During the week the students attended lectures by world-class scientists, visited various cutting edge research laboratories and industry workplaces and had the chance to speak to mentors in a wide variety of scientific fields. Ashly particularly enjoyed visiting the Cullinan Diamond Mine and debating the ethics about how science is applied at Denel Dynamics, a company that produces defence equipment. Another student, Lauren Booth, enjoyed visiting the Nuclear Energy Corporation and the South African National Biodiversity Institute.

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Central to the experience of the Focus Week was the interaction by the NYSF students with such a diverse group of like-minded students from a wide variety of backgrounds. Along with the official activities the students played cards, baked cakes and successfully introduced Tim-Tams to their newfound friends. Although the Tim-Tams were a big hit Vegemite definitely did not go down so well!

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Before heading home after the Focus Week, the students experienced a ten-day safari through the wilds of South Africa, Botswana and Zambia.  They watched magnificent sunrises from the backs of elephants, saw lion cubs feeding, a rare white lion and even two rhinos. Along with visiting a wildlife rehabilitation centre, participating in traditional meals and dances, and a night-time cruise along the Zambezi River, Lauren said, “a personal highlight was watching a spectacular sunset from the Botswana salt pans and eating braai under a starry night sky.”

“It was truly a life-changing experience,” said Lauren, “that opened my eyes to the beauty of Africa and intensified my passion for science and my interest in pursuing a rewarding career in this area.” Ashly perhaps summed it up best by saying she’d “taken enough photos and videos to fill 40GB of an SD card and enough memories to last a lifetime.”

Story by Max Rintoul, based on report from Ashly Vu

Science careers in the news

The Conversation recently ran a four part series on science and maths education.

An interview with Dr Brian Gaensler was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on Saturday 22 June. Dr Gaensler is a former Young Australian of the Year (1999) and heads up the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics. He was made a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science this year. Dr Gaensler was a guest speaker at the National Youth Science Forum January session in 2010.

 Engaging young people with science policy – article from The Guardian UK, 31 May 2013