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Meet the 2021 NYSF Chiefs of Staff - feature image, used as a supportive image and isn't important to understand article

What makes the NYSF Year 12 Program so unique is its youth-led nature, with 64 Student Staff Leaders in 2021 joining the NYSF team to ensure the program runs smoothly. For the 2021 NYSF Year 12 Program, we've enlisted three Student Staff Leaders as Chiefs of Staff. Overseeing the Student Staff Leader team will be Sophie Burgess, Tom Wright and Tara Graves. Let's meet the 2021 Chiefs of Staff and hear their words of encouragement to the Year 12 Program participants.


Meet the 2021 NYSF Chiefs of Staff - content image

Hi folks! My name is Sophie, and I am so excited to be able to volunteer as one of the Chiefs of Staff (CoS) for NYSF 2021. My journey with the National Youth Science Forum started in 2017, when I attended the Year 12 Program. I returned home to Launceston, Tasmania, with a newfound drive, a completely different career direction and an overwhelming urge to try every opportunity I could in my final year of school. And after that initial NYSF experience, I've just kept coming back! My NYSF journey has taken me to London, Paris, Geneva and Singapore, and after all of that travel I've found myself back at the Australian National University where it all started. These days, I study Mechanical and Material Systems Engineering and after Uni I have a dream to go into academia to help develop renewable energy technologies needed to support our future!

Coming into the 2021 NYSF hybrid program, I'm feeling a mix of nervousness and excitement. Nervousness, because we have never done anything like this before. Excitement, because we have never done something like this before! Everyone who is a part of the NYSF 2021 has the unique opportunity to be part of something new, and who knows! Maybe when the pandemic is over and fully in-person NYSF Programs resume, the framework we've created for an online or hybrid session will be used to develop programs for young science enthusiasts who aren't able to travel for immersive STEM experiences like NYSF.

You're going to learn so much at the NYSF Year 12 Program, and my advice for participants is not to let the learning end there! Want to find out more about the research a scientist you heard from is doing? Send them an email after session! You did a STEM visit to a site you would love to work at? Find out if they do internships! While the NYSF Program has to end in January, your curiosity certainly does not!


Meet the 2021 NYSF Chiefs of Staff - content image

Hello! My name is Tom and I'm a CoS for this year's NYSF Program. I attended this program as a student at the beginning of 2017, where I got to experience fields of study I'd never heard of, challenge my ways of thinking about science and technology and ultimately learn about myself. This set me on a path where I am now studying my dream degree: Mechatronic Engineering with a dual degree in Computer Science at the University of New South Wales. My passions lie in sustainable transport, energy production and living, and I hope to put my degrees towards solving today's problems in these areas.

This year, more than ever, we have seen the need for flexibility and creative thinking in the way that education is run. For the NYSF, this has resulted in a really exciting opportunity, with almost 600 students participating in the same session. With a truly talented staff group and students' range and diversity, this year is set to be one of the most exciting NYSFs yet!

For the students coming into the program this year, I can give two pieces of advice. The first is to get a taste of as many fields as you can! You never really know what interests you until you've had a taste of it, and there is no better opportunity to try out a bunch of different fields than the NYSF. The second piece of advice is to try to chat with as many people as possible while you're here! Speaking from experience, NYSFers are some of the most interesting, intelligent and fun people on the planet, so meet as many people as you can!



Meet the 2021 NYSF Chiefs of Staff - content image

Hey hey! I'm Tara and I am so stoked to be a CoS alongside Tom and Sophie for the 2021 NYSF Year 12 Program!! The staff team is LEGENDARY, and I am so honoured to be leading such a dream team. The NYSF has been changing and influencing my life since the beginning of 2017, when I attended as a student. I remember feeling as though I'd be out of place at a science camp, when I didn't even know who Brian Schmidt was. I was extremely surprised to have the best time of my life, meeting so many like-minded and inspiring people and truly discovering what I wanted to do with my life. Staffing in 2018 and 2019 also developed me personally in such a positive way. I loved interacting and learning from all the students!!

I am just about to enter my honours year of the Bachelor of Advanced Science – Global Challenges at Monash where I majored in chemistry and minored in earth science. Without NYSF I never would have found out about the degree I am currently doing and love so much. I really love working with people, helping them grow and flourish in what they are passionate about and seeing the greater impact science can have on others' lives. Hopefully, I'll be able to work in science communication in the future and utilise all the skills I've gained from staffing at NYSF!

I am so thankful for NYSF for not only helping me find myself, but being a student and Student Staff has allowed me to make so many lifelong friends who are the coolest people you will ever meet! 2021 students, I am SO PUMPED for you to experience the magic that is NYSF. Soak up every experience, take every opportunity that knocks on your door during the next three weeks of January! Talk to as many people as you can, whether that be other students, Staffies, Rotarians or science professionals. NYSF is truly about the deep-rooted connections you make. Whether those connections are to fellow peers or maybe it is to the new passion you found for science or the connection to the path you may want to take in life. The experience and opportunities given are life changing and I hope that you all learn, grow and make lasting connections.