National Youth Science Forum immerses students and nurtures their passion in STEM. It is inspirational, motivational and often life-changing. Students were sponsored by three different Rotary Clubs: Wynnum-Manley, Balmoral and Woolloongabba.
"Thomas Edison believed that opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. But perhaps opportunity is also missed because of our preconceived notions - it can be dressed, at least in our perceptions, as stereotypes.
"Science, in particular, falls victim to this. In cartoons and pop culture, it is depicted as people working alone in a lab, hunched over a Bunsen burner. But, as the other students selected for the NYSF and I have discovered, this is simply not the case. Events like a morning tea at Government House and the orientation day at Gatton have already helped to show where we could fit into the scientific world by expanding our understanding of available roles.
"On 18 October, we travelled to Government House to meet with the Governor and Mrs de Jersey, as well as students involved in, and supporters of, the NYSF. Throughout the morning tea, we mingled with Rotary members in medicine and business, and university lecturers.
"The following day at Gatton we received a formal orientation. This featured a stellar talk from Professor Avril Robertson, director of Biotechnology programs at UQ. Biotechnology was, at least for me, an opportunity that I had not heard of. The Biotechnology degree at UQ is a combination of scientific skills and finance, an area and crossover that I find fascinating. Already, before even leaving Queensland, I can see my views on what science looks like starting to shift.
"We would all like to thank Mrs Ellyett again for all of her support during this process, from encouragement in applications to giving up her time to come as our guest to Gatton. We all are very much appreciative of what she does for CHAC students in science."
Anna Coldham-Fussell, Year 11
"Last Thursday, five CHAC students had the opportunity to venture to government house to meet the Governor of Queensland. All of Queensland’s students who were accepted into the National Youth Science Forum were invited, and we appreciated the opportunity to reconnect with the students we met during the interview process. The event felt very formal, ‘His Excellency’s’ arrival announced by a gong before he gave a brief speech regarding the importance of science and our role in the future. Unfortunately, due to the number of guests, his interaction with individuals was limited; however, there were many other interesting adults present, including the Dean of Science from UQ and a UQ Physics lecturer.
"The following day we journeyed out to the UQ Gatton campus. The main highlight of the day was the keynote speaker, Professor Avril Robertson, the Director of Biotechnology Programs at UQ. She was an amazing speaker, and her words regarding her extensive personal experience and opportunities within science, as well as her honest approach to explaining the challenges she faced, was truly inspiring.
"I am very excited about our trip to Canberra during the Christmas holidays, and I anticipate the learning and networking opportunities to be highly rewarding.
Annelies Alcorn, Year 11
"On Friday and Saturday, I attended two events for NYSF, the Governor’s reception and an orientation. At the Governor’s house, we met other students going to NYSF as well as “staffies” and a physics lecturer from UQ. Meeting students from other schools with common interests was very enjoyable and began to get us excited for the event.
"The next day, I attended an orientation at UQ Gatton Campus, where we again mixed with others from our Rotary district. We heard a talk from a leader in biotechnology and lecturer at UQ and learnt about the twists in her career that led her to UQ. The talk has extended my viewpoint on what I believe a career in science is, and I know NYSF will offer the same experience on a larger scale, which I cannot wait for. The orientation also gave us an overview of what the action-packed forum will be like while maintaining the mystery of the event. Overall, the two events were fun, and I am very excited to go to NYSF."
Chris O’Brien, Year 11
"The lead up to NYSF has been very successful in creating five, very excited and enthusiastic Year 11s, as we begin the countdown to the camp in January. After being invited to Government House for morning tea with the Governor, we found ourselves inside a room with an array of like-minded, aspiring students, and inspirational, successful scientists. It was incredible to be able to meet those who we will be traveling with to Canberra when we embark on the two-week trip in January 2020. I loved meeting a physics lecturer from UQ who wowed us all with his enthusiasm about special relativity.
"The very next day, we travelled out to the UQ Gatton Campus to undertake our orientation. This day was one of celebration and preparation, hosted by the district Rotary club. A big thank you must go out to Ms Ellyett who has supported us in every step of this process and was our guest for the Gatton orientation day. We are certainly all looking forward to flying down to Canberra next year to experience NYSF for ourselves."
Emma Cooney, Year 11