“Working together Rotary and the NYSF are helping our next generations to become science literate critical thinkers who have a predisposition to solving the complex challenges of our times”
What do you get when you put most of the Rotary District Chair’s (DC) throughout Australia all into one room? A whole lot of conversation!
In March, the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) held its biennial Rotary DC’s Conference at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. The districts were well represented with 18 of the 21 Rotary Districts across Australia attending.
With the continued growth of the NYSF and its programs, the weekend provided an opportunity for Rotary and the NYSF to work together to address challenges, share experiences, and ensure the success and improvement of all contributions and activities into the future.
Chief Executive Officer of the NYSF, Dr Damien Pearce, recognised the vital role Rotary plays in student selections and in its ability to source a diverse student contingent from all over Australia.
“It is approaching 35 years since Rotary became involved, in what we now call the NYSF, as the founding partner. As an organisation, Rotary’s commitment to the development of youth, particularly in the science outreach space was seminal.
Reflecting on the proceedings of the NYSF Rotary District Chair’s Conference, this inspiring relationship between Rotary and the NYSF has never been stronger. "The NYSF does not take this relationship for granted and we are critically aware of the contribution that Rotary makes to the NYSF’s vision to inspire young Australians to value science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and its importance in our communities.”
Last year Rotarians contributed over 20,000 volunteer hours on the ground, promoting the program, and conducting student selections. From this over 1,150 applications were received of which 400 participants were selected to attend the NYSF Year 12 Program. Of the selected students, 43% came from remote and regional areas – a testament to the broad reach of Rotary in Australia; and 61% were female.
NYSF Rotary DC (D9630), Trish Peddie said the conference gathered the key people charged with making sure the right applicants are selected.
“It is a surprise how different each region is in its selection processes, sometimes because of the size of the area they represent.
It [the conference] will bring some clarity to processes and the commitment behind the program,” Ms Peddie said.
Ideas were exchanged and processes streamlined but the conference wasn’t all boardrooms and PowerPoint presentations; there was also time for socialising. Delegates were treated to a talk by special guest speaker, Professor Brian Schmidt AC, the ANU Vice-Chancellor and Nobel Laureate, at a welcome cocktail reception. Additionally, a dinner and stargazing evening was held at Mt Stromlo Observatory with astronomer, Dr Bradley Tucker.
With the conference over the DC’s attention is now turned to recruiting and selecting students for the NYSF 2018 Year 12 Program.
“Working together, Rotary and the NYSF are helping our next generations to become science literate critical thinkers who have a predisposition to solving the complex challenges of our times,” Dr Pearce said.