NYSF exploded my view of the world in a challenging but thrilling way
The National Youth Science Forum helped 2017 alumna Natasha Berthold realise the endless possibilities that a career in STEM can provide, while simultaneously helping her discover biomedical science, a field she would fall in love with. Year 11 students with an interest in STEM are encouraged to now apply for the NYSF 2021 Year 12 program.
"NYSF 2017 was the point at which I knew my heart and life belonged to science. After dealing with health issues prior to the program, the joy and passion that filled those two weeks allowed me to rediscover life and love in a way that I had not thought possible. It gave me friendships that I still possess and a lifelong membership into the blue heart of the NYSF family. NYSF exploded my view of the world in a challenging but thrilling way.
Three years on from my session, I am currently in my final year of a Bachelor of Biomedical Science at the University of Notre Dame Australia Fremantle campus. Challenged by NYSF into realising the vastness of the possibilities of a life in science, I was unsure of exactly where I wanted to go. I decided to pick an undergraduate that was in a field of my interest but broad enough for me to keep postgraduate options wide- a piece of advice I will still devoutly pass on to all graduating students. Right now, I am about to embark on the exciting opportunity of working as an undergraduate practicum student in a research team at Perron Institute researching brain plasticity and exploring ways in which to improve brain function in healthy individuals and treat neurological disorders in patients.
Study is not everything though.
A crucial lesson I picked up from NYSF was that science needs innovation and creativity and for you to lift your head up and experience life. At the end of my first year, I signed a contract, jumped on a plane, and took myself off to the small town of Lazise, just outside of Verona, on Largo di Garda, in Italy. There, I worked as an au pair for an Italian family for three months over my uni break and was the coldest I have ever been! I missed home like crazy, particularly my beautiful Finnish Laphund pup, Aiko, but I had some of the most amazing experiences of my short life- making friends with people from all corners of the world; watching the Champs Elysees lit up with New Year’s Eve Fire-works; catching the bus from Rome to Verona on a frozen January midnight; flying over the Alps as they were touched by the rising sun.
At the close of these past three years, with graduation in sight and postgraduate research just over the horizon, I’m still only half sure of what I’m doing. But that’s the beauty of science- the importance of questioning."