'My teachers were always pushing me to improve and participate in my interests further than just at school. I discovered my interest in engineering at the National Youth Science Forum. My subsequent attendance at the Australian Space Design Competition and later the International Space Settlement Design Competition certainly cemented my interest in engineering. I would not have attended these events if not for the work of my teachers'.
Courtney’s co-curricular endeavours paid dividends when she was given the opportunity to attend the 2016 London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF) in
2016, based at Imperial College.
‘Our program included many lectures from every discipline; virology and immunology, civil engineering, chemistry, nuclear physics, medicine, and astrophysics, to name a few. A personal favourite of mine was “The quest for fusion” given by Professor Steve Cowley of the Cullham Centre for Fusion Energy, as it is my career goal to one day work in nuclear engineering.
‘Another lecture I attended was taken by Professor Freya Blekman, who had taken time from her busy schedule working as a researcher at CERN to give us a crash course on data analysis for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). We analysed real data collected by the LHC to better understand the concepts explained. ‘We were also given the opportunity to travel to many of the leading scientific institutes and firms in the country. At the Royal Institution, it was absolutely incredible to see so many of
Faraday’s experiments, equipment and even his workshop preserved under the lecture theatre where so many influential scientists of the past had given demonstrations and lectures.
‘A small group of us continued on to the CERN program, which included a visit to the control centre for the LHC and the various detectors such as the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) and ATLAS. We then went to the testing facility for the components of the LHC; specifically the dipoles used to propel the protons through the collider. The LHC was actually running and collecting data, which made the trip down to the CMS extremely exciting; we saw the huge numbers of computers used in the detector and the cooling systems for its powerful magnets. We were awestruck in our CMS helmets when we came to the door marked DANGER: MAGNETIC FIELD and RADIATION
with the flashing lights indicating the machine was running.
‘My attendance at the LIYSF and CERN program will be an experience I will never forget. In addition to giving us the opportunity to hear from incredible scientists from all
over the world and visit world-class facilities in London, I now have a much clearer goal in mind. I was undecided between an aerospace path or a nuclear engineering path, but I now know that my passion lies in the nuclear engineering field.
‘Being a student at CHAC provided me with so many wonderful opportunities, none of which would have been brought to my attention without the amazing teaching staff,’ said the graduate of 2014. ‘And look where they’ve taken me!’