National Youth Science Forum alumni share their stories

NYSF Alumni share their stories

From March 1st, the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) is taking applications for the January 2020 program which will see 600 year 12 students from across the country gain the opportunity of a lifetime.

The NYSF is a 12-day adventure chock-full of visits to high-tech science and engineering facilities, hands-on workshops that let you get stuck into some serious science, and meet-and-greets with industry mentors, all while hanging out with a community of science-loving students just like you.

NYSF Alumni share their stories

We could harp on about how great it is (we already have, check out all the details about the NYSF program and how to register here) but we thought we’d give you the rundown from some students who have experienced the program first-hand.

Keen to apply for the National Youth Science Forum’s January 2020 program? The NYSF is taking applications from students who are in year 11 this year, from March 1st to the 31st of May. Click here to find out more and apply.

Sophie Burgess

Occupation: In her second year of a Bachelor of Engineering (Research & Development)/Bachelor of Science at ANU. She’s also tutoring and serving as the Tech Shadow Lead in the ANU Sol Invictus solar car team.

Attended NYSF: 2017

Tell us about your experience in NYSF?

The highlight of NYSF was learning that I wasn’t alone, and that there were hundreds, if not thousands of like-minded young people in Australia who shared my passion for science and excitement for life. It motivated me to become a more confident, more rounded person in year 12 and for everything that came after.

What did you take away from the experience?

I was planning to study 24/7, take the UMAT [Undergraduate Medical and Health Sciences Admission Test], get a perfect ATAR and study medicine. Attending NYSF helped me realise that you shouldn’t aim for the highest ATAR degree just because you know you can get it, but to follow your passion. I realised my passion lay in fundamental science and problem solving, which lead me to apply for an Engineering/Physics degree at ANU.

NYSF Alumni Sophie Burgess

Brock Sherlock

Occupation: Student at UNSW studying Advanced Mathematics (Applied) and Mechanical Engineering

Attended NYSF: 2017, returned as student staff in 2018

Tell us about your experience in NYSF?

The highlights for me were the lab visits and networking. Before NYSF, I thought people who worked in STEM all worked in labs wearing lab coats. Lab visits showed me there was a wide array of options in STEM.

The networking was also a highlight. I have lasting friendships because of NYSF. I still keep in contact with many of those people and have even made industry connections as a direct result of attending the program. It’s amazing how many people want to help you out when you send them an email telling them you visited their workplace and want to learn more about it.

What did you take away from the experience?

I never would have chosen to study mathematics if the program hadn’t shown me the amazing applications of maths in the real world, and that the career prospects aren’t limited to finance.

Elinor Howe

Occupation: Studying a double degree of Science and Arts, majoring in Environmental Science and International Studies at Monash University

Attended NYSF: 2018

What did you take away from the experience?

I spent most of year 12 with no idea what I would study when I got to university. When it came time to choose a degree, I thought back to the STEM activities at NYSF and the lecturers who spoke about the incredible impact that climate change is having on our beautiful earth. Now, I’m doing a double degree of Science and Arts, majoring in Environmental Science and International Studies. Thanks to NYSF, I found a valuable link between science and the arts that will give me a future career I can be proud of.

What advice would you give to someone interested in applying for NYSF?

Just do it! After attending, I came out feeling positive about year 12 and my future, met a bunch of people who love science as much as I do, and had a much better idea of my university choices. You don’t need to go in knowing exactly what you want to do in life, because you’ll discover future pathways you wouldn’t otherwise consider.

NYSF Alumni Elinor Howe

Shoshana Rapley

Occupation: Full-time ecologist researching the reintroduction of locally extinct species in Mulligan’s Flat Woodland Sanctuary, ACT, and improving biodiversity reporting with the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network.

Attended NYSF: 2014, returned as student-staff in 2015 and 2016

Tell us about your experience in NYSF?

My bus from Sydney [to ACT] was one of the last to arrive, so when we disembarked, 150 other students formed an enormous welcome tunnel, and the celebrations began! Nowhere else have I experienced such immediate mateship, understanding and connection between students from far-flung corners of the country – or the world!

What advice would you give to someone interested in applying for NYSF?

Grab on to that opportunity with both hands. The NYSF has a permanent impact on everyone who attends; for some it’s the friendships made, for others it affirms their dreams and forges a career path, or it illuminates areas of science you never knew existed. Attending the NYSF was the greatest opportunity of my life!

NYSF Alumni Shoshana Rapley

Interested in learning more? Visit the NYSF website for more details.


This article was produced in partnership with the National Youth Science Forum.

Eliza Brockwell

Author: Eliza Brockwell

Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.


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