A Report on My Experience at the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF), Canberra 2015

My NYSF journey began through a notice in the school newsletter, not much research was necessary to convince me that it sounded like a fun and worthwhile program. Travelling from Brisbane to Canberra by bus is surprisingly enjoyable when you are with 40 other science enthused students; all willing to talk about common and different interests most of the way. I was pleased to experience engaging and interactive talks from keynote speakers. All of the topics were relevant to aspiring scientists and engineers and I found that I took two key messages from all of the speakers; no form of study is a waste and be open to opportunities that provide change.

Before arriving I had assumed that activities would take place on the ANU campus. As an environmental sciences group, our lab visits saw us outdoors and getting to know all aspects of the industry. We were lucky enough to experience a real fossil dig, visit a farm that had implemented desalination techniques, gain first hand practical experience in a botanist’s lab as well as play with seismometers. One day saw us at a vineyard and winery learning about the chemistry behind wine fermentation. Although we failed to find a Neanderthal skeleton or spot the beginning of an earthquake, we were able to ask questions around the university and career pathways of the professionals. Personally I took away that the road to a career is not like what you see on university magazines, but twisted and bumpy and completely worthwhile.

Two nights of the forum consisted of formal occasions, one being the Rotary dinner and the other being the science dinner. Both had amazing guest speakers, some of which were NYSF alumni. Meeting alumni was definitely a high point of the program, they could offer small glimpses of the future granted that the hard work is put in through year 12 and beyond. Their advice also, was a definite motivator for my oncoming senior year, the most notable of which is that NYSF provides opportunities along with obligation to teach others about the opportunities of science and its possibilities.

For this incredible opportunity, and the motivations and goals it has equipped me with for year 12 and beyond, I have to thank my nominating club, the Rotary Club of Brisbane Airport as well as district 9600 and its chair, Derek Jones. Also, my school for their support in my application as well as the NYSF partners and organisation, led by Damien Pierce for the creation and continuation of this program that I hope to live up to in the future.

Brianna Russell, Student