"I can’t help but thank NYSF and the three Next Steps I attended for the confidence and ability to make new connections, not to mention how comfortable I am with presentations after a certain activity."
Jake Boyce attended the NYSF 2015 Year 12 Program, and since then his passion for science has blossomed into a love for physics! We often highlight the hands on science experience the Year 12 Program gives, however it also allows students to gain confidence and grow as individuals. For Jake, the NYSF was special in that way.
"Early high school science never did much for me beyond the cool Bunsen burners and colour changing chemical reactions, and I think a lot of people feel the same. No, it was the discovery of the Higgs Boson on the news in 2012 that started me asking questions and looking more and more into physics, and since then my passion for science has only grown, with chemistry close behind physics as my favourite. The NYSF 2015 Year 12 Program was a dream come true, surrounded by people with a similar passion for science and diving into the most interesting aspects of science instead of just the bare basics, and my session C Physics group Einstein certainly saw some awesome physics.
Now I’m coming first in my fourth year of Materials Engineering at the University of Wollongong. While for many NYSF helps students pinpoint their passion and reassure them it’s the correct path, it reminded me that it’s not just physics that I love. After coming tenth in NSW for Engineering Studies (yet somehow it was the one subject that didn’t count towards my ATAR) and having my pick of universities and courses, I chose Materials Engineering because it combines physics, chemistry, maths, and engineering, and has such a diverse range of applications and modern developments I could end up anywhere. That said, I’m currently working on my Honours thesis with Type II superconductors, bringing physics right back into my life where I want it.
During my time at UOW I’ve worked on a summer research project studying the peritectic reaction in steels using a high temperature laser scanning confocal microscope, continuing to operate the microscope through my third year as a job. I am in my second year as treasurer of the Materials Engineering Society: last year we organised an “industrial trip” to Melbourne to visit relevant industry and research sites that felt very NYSF (just a few less chants). Materials Engineering only has a small cohort but we’ve formed a closer and more interactive group than our lecturers are used to seeing, and I’ve met countless others, including one who I now consider my twin! I can’t help but thank NYSF and the three Next Steps (now known as NYSF Connect) I attended for the confidence and ability to make new connections, not to mention how comfortable I am with presentations after a certain activity. I still can’t get past the fact every single breakfast involved sitting at a new table and comfortably making new friends.
With the end of my undergraduate degree fast approaching, I still have to decide where I’ll go from here, whether on to further research, into industry, or overseas for one thing or another; the one thing I know is that I don’t want to work on steel when there’s so much more fascinating stuff out there. As a break from the advice to follow your passion, I think that’s the advice I would offer: there is so much out there, and even when you think you’ve decided, keep your eyes open for what might be around the corner".