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Moving from Wangaratta to Melbourne was a big step but I was ready and prepared for it because of experiences like the National Youth Science Forum

NYSF Alumna Bridgett Byrne (2013):

"Moving from Wangaratta to Melbourne was a big step but I was ready and prepared for it because of experiences like the National Youth Science Forum. My stay at Burgmann College and my time at The Australian National University with NYSF made the enormity of living on campus and attending university easier. Wherever you go, your NYSF friends are always there. University is no different. The transition from a high school student to university student was made easier by having friendly, familiar faces at my residential college and in my course.

“Your NYSF friends are always there” - content image

Bridgette Byrne (right) on session in 2013

I have always held a great interest in science. The NYSF is where my passion for science and leadership was set alight. As a participant, I learnt about the potential of science, now and into the future. It gave me the opportunity to meet some of Australia’s leaders in science and I listened intently to their research presentations. NYSF was really my first, and the best opportunity, to be exposed to the Australian science industry and establish it as a possible career path.

I knew by the middle of year 12 that I wanted to study science and Monash University was my first choice. Monash’s science course is structured in a way that allowed me to complete units in first year that are very broad and that cover a lot of areas of science. As I progressed, I was able to specialise more as I learned about my fundamental interests. Through this process, I have been able to study units within my chosen field of conservation and plant science - but I have also been able to complete additional units in sustainability, consumption, globalisation and climate change as electives. This has given me a really well rounded knowledge base.

Monash prides itself on providing students with great experiences that complement your studies. I have been involved in leadership programs, volunteer opportunities and science research. This gives students like me more than a degree. I now have practical knowledge and leadership skills to take with me into my career.

Unlike year 12, university is about establishing knowledge in your chosen field and using it to answer questions and solve problems – a skill every employer looks for in an employee regardless of the industry. At times it can be very challenging but it is always worthwhile in the end.

I am now in my second year of science and I am really happy with what I have achieved.

As a student from rural Victoria, I strongly encourage all rural students to consider university and living on campus. The people you meet, the friendships you form and the experiences you will have will stay with you for life."