National Youth Science Forum
NYSF....Here We Come!
On January 9th we will hop on a plane in Sydney with around 24 other very excited Yr 12's to experience 12 days packed with the sort of opportunities science students can only dream of. We're going to be giving you updates of everything we experience on our journey from the orientation night, through the Forum itself and beyond. We're pretty sure it's going to be a life-changing experience for us and hope it will inspire you to get your own application in. Watch film of last years NYSF by clicking here!
Background: The National Youth Science Foundation was founded in 1984. It is run in association with the Rotary Club of Australia. Its main objective is to guide Year 12 students who are interested in a career in science, engineering or technology so that they make more informed choices regarding the field they follow...because as fields go, science is a field the size of the planet! They are also given training in time management, interview skills and public speaking. Oh, then there's the bush dancing, singing, disco's, games and chanting...a very important part of science you understand!
There are three sessions; A and C are in Canberra and B takes place in Perth. We're on session B on the 9th January in Perth (we were going to Canberra but got changed). Each session lasts for 12 days with a day in the middle with a local Rotary family where you get the chance to catch-up on sleep and washing!
Thursday 1st September - Orientation night at Chatswood. An amazing night - listened to Graeme Davis of Rotary tell us a bit about what they do. This left us feeling very excited to be at the start of a long relationship with Rotary. Then Dr Nick Dorsch...yes, a real live brain surgeon...spoke about brain aneurysms, research and the engineering that goes into the gidgets they use to clamp aneuysms off. Then Geoffrey Burchfield, Director of NYSF spoke about all the experiences and opportunities we were going to have as NYSF participants. We were so excited at this point we could have leapt from our seats and jumped up and down....thankfully, we restrained ourselves! We then had food, drink and the chance to meet our fellow 24 NYSF'ers. Everyone was SO lovely, friendly and interesting. Honestly, it felt like we'd known them for ages! We then heard from a past NYSF'er and NYSF parent. The whole evening was hosted by Rotarian, Noel Cislowski, who's brilliant....and very calm!
We got an impromptu introduction to public speaking as we all had to stand up and introduce ourselves in a nutshell. Then we received our 'plum pudding' badges. Ours are red, the colour for 2012. They called plum puddings as they have the NYSF logo on which is a picture of the Shine Dome at ANU.
The Shine Dome at ANU NYSF Logo Us with our plum pudding badges
Monday September 5th -
21st September - Well, guess what? We're no longer off to Canberra, seems we're off to Perth!!! At first we were really disappointed as we'd kind of bonded with our Canberra NYSF'ers. But...always up for a challenge, Perth here we come!
26-27th September - We're in Canberra, at the Shine Dome! Nothing 'really' to do with NYSF, but we're down here wagging school so we can attend the 'Geo-Engineering the Climate' Conference. Scary stuff! It's all about what we might have to do to keep our ailing planet limping along. We've learnt lots, met fabulous & friendly scientists, one very strange man telling us we're all going to die, and confirmed that scientists sometimes just aren't very good at the old 'whipping your audience into a frenzy of interest' presentation tactic. Anyhow, will be writing more on the conference at some point.
October - The two Rotary groups sponsoring us are:
Norwest Sunrise Rotary Club (100% sponsorship of Freya)
Hills-Kellyville Rotary Club (50% sponsorship of Immie)
So we need to raise 50% of a fee ($1125). We thought we could busk and sell stuff on a market stall. Problem - instruments need insuring and we have to have stall holder insurance for the market. To the rescue - two lovely insurance companies who have agreed to pay for our insurance. A big thank you to Marsh Insurance and Freeman McMurrick.
Rupert has wielded the NYSF sorting hat and we've been put into our Groups - think the hat got us twins mixed-up though. Also got our 'buddies' - do we swap groups, buddies...aagh, what to do?
Thursday 10th Nov - Off to meet Freya's Rotary group (Immie goes too!). Journalist coming to do story about us going to NYSF.
Sunday 1st Jan 2012 - Happy New Year! No time to relax, we're billeting FOUR NYSO students from Perth who are heading to Canberra Session A. Curtis, Alison, Lily and Alex are all wonderful. Next day we wave them off ....got to wait another week for ours.
Sunday 8th Jan - Wah! How come the time went SO fast. Got to pack, print tickets, mum is going insane contacting all her friends in Perth as emergency contacts 'just in case'.
Monday 9th Jan - Will write this when we return!!!
21st Jan - We're Back!
My name is Imogen and I have Post NYSF Blues!
Imagine you got to spend 10 days doing everything you could imagine…and more, as well as making life-long friends, doing mad things, dancing, chanting and meeting inspirational people, Well, that’s exactly what my twin sister, Freya, and I got to do in January.
I wouldn’t have found out about NYSF (National Youth Science Forum) if it wasn’t for a uni student trying to sell me maths tutoring. She’s studying Advanced Science and was amazed I hadn’t applied. So I implore ALL science teachers to make sure they tell their students and ensure they have the chance to enjoy the same amazing experience as Freya and I.
The first step is to head to the NYSF website: www.nysf.edu.au, That’ll tell you all about the interview process and getting in touch with your Rotary group. Our Rotary Clubs were brilliant at not only providing financial support, but also being really excited about seeing us develop through the program. Being part of Rotary opened our eyes to the incredible work they do and we look forward to our further our relationship with them.
It wasn’t long till we were flying off to Perth, we’d already got to know a couple of other students on our flight, but it didn’t matter as everyone was incredibly friendly and of course were all budding scientists tingling with excitement. Arriving later at Currie Hall, our student accommodation at the University of Western Australia, we were introduced to the enthusiasm and never-ending energy of the ‘Staffies’, along with 140 like-minded students who shared our passion for science.
We also met our ‘interest groups’, who would become our family for the next twelve days. For me, this meant I was surrounded by students interested in the Earth and Environment, and was able to talk about career plans, opportunities and university courses with them which was extremely helpful.
In our group, we travelled around Perth taking in parts of the city with visits to Kings Park and the Perth Mint, as well as experiencing a range of laboratories and scientific facilities. We saw fluorescent bacteria at UWA, learnt about research in salinity-resistant plants and even visited an Alcoa mine and were mesmerised watching a digger spin in circles while waiting for another truck to collect tonnes of rock!
I found visiting the ‘Ultra Clean Laboratory’, the cleanest laboratory in the world at Curtin University incredibly interesting (plus we got to wear these ultra-fashionable shoe socks). Despite being rather cold (-18°C), being able to hold a 300 year old ice core from Antarctica was pretty amazing to say the least. This connection between the high school chemistry textbooks to seeing first-hand the research and work of ‘real-life’ scientists is incredibly motivating in studying for the all-important HSC.
We also got to attend numerous presentations given by leading scientist, including hearing about the SKA – Square Kilometre Array (also known as ‘Something Kinda Awesome), the world’s largest radio telescope. The Chief Scientist of Western Australia, Lyn Beazley, motivated and encouraged us to pursue our dream careers in science and engineering. She has become an inspirational role model for myself and many others.
However, (teachers, don’t read this bit) not all activities at the National Youth Science Forum were educational; it also hosted extremely fun activities, the first being the ‘Science Relay Quiz’, where 140-odd students were quizzed in Currie Hall about science, maths and all things in-between, ranging from mathematical formulas, questions about space and scientists, to the number of toes on Marilyn Munroe’s feet.
Other highlights include the bush dance, late night shopping, morning and evening activities (including laughing yoga, rock climbing and golfing) and the all-important disco, where students were encouraged to dress in a science theme (my own costume being that of a full sized Dalek). It is events like these are quintessential elements of the NYSF.
From this program, my leadership, communication and teamwork skills have been improved dramatically through the workshops and activities, and my view of science has broadened incredibly.
Previously, I was sure that I wanted to take one specific career path in science. However, after such an interesting and eye-opening program, my view on science has completely changed and I now take a keen interest in areas I wouldn’t have thought of before, I especially appreciate the work of scientists around the world in shaping a more advanced and environmentally-friendly world.
On the last day of the program, it was heart-breaking to say goodbye to everyone. Through this program, incredible friendships have been made and I now have a welcome home in every state of Australia, as do all students that partake in the NYSF each year and are also part of a larger NYSF Alumni community.
We’ve built important connections to future and present scientists of Australia and even internationally. I would extremely recommend all prospective science, engineering and maths students to attend the NYSF, as it is not only a gateway into the world of science, but could also, and probably will be, one of the best two weeks of your life!