National Youth Science Forum
The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF), is not one of those activities that mark the highlight of your year; it is THE activity that marks the highlight of your year. In late January, 200 Year 12 students from all over Australia gathered in Canberra at the Australia National University for a life-changing two weeks.
The first day was filled with site-seeing, and ice breaking games so that we could start getting to know each other, and then we were in full swing – literally! We ‘rocked the bus’ to a swing dance, and then, after we knew where the name badges go, came the Science. We had lectures on quantum physics, did emergency hospital response simulations and even had an online talk with a researcher from CERN – the European organisation for nuclear research!
Everybody was split into groups based on their desired career, and had matching lab visits. My group, the biomed group, went to state of the art medical research centres and hospitals; physics and engineering groups went to high end university observatories and particle accelerators… by the end of the first week we were all revelling in the Science! But the forum was not just about opening our eyes to new and exciting career paths, it was also about helping us get there. We did communications workshops, learnt about different university scholarships, and had fantastic networking opportunities with researchers and Rotarians without whom the forum would not have been possible. We all made friendships that will last a lifetime, and the best part: the Forum is not over yet.
The Next Step Programme will be held in state capitals throughout the year, and those that went to the NYSF can go ‘back-stage’ and take part in university life. There are also international programmes available only to past NYSFers, such as the London International Youth Science Forum, which I hope to attend in Term 3. Overall, the NYSF was a fantastic experience, and a wholly unique opportunity that I would recommend every current Year 11 apply for and seize!
Maria Theodora Ciubuc-Batcu