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Thank you to all of the volunteers who have been involved.

It’s winter in Canberra and that means one thing for the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) – student selections.  All across the country, the Rotary NYSF District Chairs have been working with their committees to do the very difficult job of selecting students to attend the NYSF 2015 January Sessions.   Thank you to all of the volunteers who have been involved.  We look forward to working with the young people you have selected to attend this year, as we have done for the past thirty–one years of the program’s operation.

One person who was selected in 1990 was Tanya Feletto, from the Bankstown Rotary Club in Sydney.  Now Professor Tanya Monro, I am delighted to welcome her as she steps into the role of Chair of the Council that oversees operation of the NYSF.  The first alumni to chair the Council, Professor Monro is a distinguished physicist and is currently an Australian Research Council (ARC) Georgina Sweet Laureate Fellow, Director of the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) at the University of Adelaide. She will take up a new role at the University of South Australia as Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Innovation in November 2014.

Other changes to the Council include  Professor John Close replacing Professor Tim Senden (also a former NYSF student) as the representative of the Australian National University; past Rotary District 9710 Governor Maureen Manning has dispatched the baton to the current District Governor Rowley Tompsett to represent the Canberra region Rotary District on the Council; and the representative of the Australian Academy of Science is now Professor Jenny Graves who replaced their long term representative, Dr Elizabeth Trusswell. We are also expecting a new representative of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) to be appointed early in the new year. On behalf of the NYSF community, I would like to welcome the new, and thank the former members for their significant contribution to the program.

The current NSYF Council 2014/15 can be found here.

The planning for the January NYSF sessions is in full swing. With the increase in the participant numbers for the Canberra sessions we are in the process of identifying and confirming additional opportunities for lab and industry visits. As a result, there will be another four interest groups added to the 10 existing groups. Our interest groups are named for scientists whose work has significantly contributed to the knowledge of our world and I am pleased with the names our team has selected for the new groups:

  • Curie - Chemistry group
  • Blackburn - BioMed group
  • Hill - Earth and Environmental group
  • Oliphant - Physics group

If you are not familiar with their work, please look them up.

The student staff (Staffies) led by Steven Falconieri (2015 Session A), Amy Norman (2015 Session C), and Brett Slarks (2016 Session A), are preparing for Orientations and their pending roles and responsibilities during January. See this story about how the Staffies have prepared for January in partnership with Outward Bound Australia (OBA).

The Staffies for 2015 are listed here.

By the beginning September, we will have moved into Orientation season, and I am looking forward to meeting many of the 400 young people selected to attend NYSF 2015 during District Orientations, and their “support team” – mums, dads, Rotarians and teachers – and welcoming them into the NYSF community.

Damien Pearce
August 2014