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Inspiration over dinner - feature image, used as a supportive image and isn't important to understand article

"What NYSF did for me is give me the confidence to try. If you try, you can do extraordinary things." Professor Tanya Monro FAA FTSE FOSA FAIP GAICD

As the NYSF 2020 Year 12 Program Session B drew to a close, we gathered in celebration with our Science Dinner in the beautifully restored Brisbane City Hall. The evening was a wonderful opportunity for NYSF participants, Student Staff Leaders, National Science Teachers Summer School (NSTSS) participants, NYSF Alumni, Rotarians and guests from our Partner Organisations to get to know each other over a sit-down dinner.

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The evening started with Canapés and entertainment provided by some of our very talented participants.

The dinner was Chaired by Session B Chief Of Staff - Rebecca Hermanus, with dinner guests hearing from a variety of entertaining and informative speakers including NYSF CEO, Dr Melanie Bagg, and representatives from our Major Partner - Lockheed Martin Australia, Brisbane Session B host university – The University of Queensland, Founding Partner - Rotary Australia, NYSF Director, Rowley Tompsett and Keynote speaker – Professor Tanya Monro FAA FTSE FOSA FAIP GAICD, Australia's Chief Defence Scientist.,

The evening began with a heartfelt Acknowledgement of Country by NYSF Participant David McGregor, followed by an opening address from, Dr Melanie Bagg. Melanie acknowledged the difficult start to the year many Australians have faced due to the ongoing bushfires, and the impact this has had on participants from Session A and Session C of the NYSF 2020 Year 12 Program. She sincerely thanked everyone for their support and understanding during a challenging time of unique and unforeseen circumstances.

"I ask that you all keep supporting and reaching out to include and embrace the participants and Student Staff from A and C, who worked hard to compete for their places in the program. The NYSF is a special and supportive community and we will band together along with our Partners as we work through this difficult time."

Melanie congratulated all students in their selection to attend the NYSF 2020 Year 12 Program, emphasising the great possibilities ahead of them.

"Whether you were able to participate in the program fully this year or not, you are now considered alumni of the NYSF, and join over 12,000 others in this extensive and supportive network. Make the most of these connections as you never know where they may lead you."

Chief Of Staff for Session B - Rebecca Hermanus (NYSF 2016 alumna), welcomed students and distinguished guests, thanked NYSF Founding Partner; Rotary Australia, Major partner; Lockheed Martin Australia, our host universities; The University of Queensland and The Australian National University and introduced speakers for the evening.

The next speaker , Mr Brad Wheatley represented NYSF's Major Funding Partner, Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA). Brad  is a Research Engineer of hypersonics with LMA at the Research & Development facility - STELaRLab. Brad spoke on the opportunities available through a career in STEM, reiterating Lockheed Martin’s ongoing commitment to the NYSF Program.

"Advancing STEM is a critical focus area we recognise we must find a way to grow. That's why we support STEM initiatives like the NYSF who are committed to growing the future STEM workforce."

The The University of Queensland's Provost, Professor Aidan Byrne reflected on his many years engaging with NYSF Participants, detailing the vibrancy that comes with students opening up and broadening horizons in all fields of science. Professor Byrne shared his desire to encourage young Australian’s in STEM literacy through exposure to all areas of science as explored in the NYSF Program.

"Allow the NYSF to show how all areas of science that can provide you with the chance to develop as people. Allow this to influence how you can make a difference in the world. Do what you're passionate about."

Representing NYSF Founding Partner - Rotary Australia, Wendy Protheroe, Past District Governor of Rotary District 9600, reflected on the humble beginnings of the National Youth Science Forum 37 years ago.

"Canberra Rotarians thought, how can we encourage the young leaders of the day? So they started the NYSF Program. We are leading the way in how we can grow young leaders."

Our Keynote speaker for the evening,  Chief Defence Scientist, NYSF Alumna and NYSF Science Patron, Professor Tanya Monro FAA FTSE FOSA FAIP GAICD, reflected on her time attending the NYSF in 1990, or the National Science Summer School (NSSS), as it was then known.

"What NYSF did for me is give me the confidence to try. If you try, you can do extraordinary things."

Professor Monro congratulated  current NYSF participants and spoke of her journey as  a NYSF 1990 alumna, her early study and career highlights and the importance of being vulnerable - both as a young scientist and as a senior leader in the STEM field.

“Science is almost the definition of creativity and that’s what I love about it. The art of asking questions and being vulnerable to ask, is how you work together to harness skills of the team.”

"Most of the problems we want to solve in the world don't respect the disciplines we segregate science into. We must become adaptable to work collaboratively with other fields to solve problems. Fields that haven’t been invented yet is what you may have a part in creating."

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During the candid Q&A session, an NYSF participant asked Professor Monro what science means to her and what aspirations she has for science in Australia.

“Science is creating the possibilities, shaping the future, adding to our sum of knowledge and making a difference because of it, so we can engage citizens for a better Australia.”

After taking a number of questions from the room, Tanya left Participants with one last piece of advice for being a good scientist.

“Have the courage and resilience to try, to be wrong and try again. Have the curiosity to want to know more - to read, to learn, to listen. Have the appetite to try hard at something – not to fear hard work, but actually get satisfaction.”

Mr Rowley Tompsett, Director on the NYSF Board spoke on behalf of the Board:

“We could not give students this life changing experience without your support."

He went on to thank all funding Partners, volunteers and supporters of the NYSF including NYSF Founding Partner - Rotary Australia, Major Partner – Lockheed Martin Australia, host universities The Australian National University and The University of Queensland, The Department of Industry Innovation and Science, through the National Innovation and Science Agenda funding, CSL Limited, CSIRO, Defence Force Recruiting, ResMed, Amgen, Monash University, University of New South Wales, Griffith University and The University of Melbourne. NYSF Partners –Bayer Australia, Toyota Australia and South Australian Government - Department of Education and Department of Industry Innovation and Science all provided equity scholarships for NYSF 2020 Participants.

In acknowledging the strength of the the youth-led program, Rowley had all three NYSF 2020 Chiefs Of Staff – Eliza McGovern, Rebecca Hermanus, Bailey Chappel and Session B Student Staff Leaders stand for a heartfelt round applause for their leadership in the program and reiterated a sentiment shared by all the speakers during the evening

"NYSF is a special program, because it brings together like minded people to support a lifelong appreciation of the STEM journey."

Rowley left the NYSF participants with one last piece of advice on how to make the most of these newfound opportunities.

"I encourage you to open every door you see. Have the courage to open it. If you don’t like what’s behind it, step out, close the door, and open another. There will always be another door."

The formal part of the evening wrapped up with Session B Chief of Staff - Rebecca Hermanus, giving a final thank you to the speakers and the staff of Brisbane City Hall for the beautiful venue and delicious dinner.  The evening 

Following the formal part of the evening NYSF Participants had the opportunity to mingle and network with distinguished guests until the close of the evening

The NYSF would like to thank Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Brisbane City Council who have provided funding towards tonight’s dinner event through the City Hall and King George Square community support funding.


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Written by Max Clifton, Communications Intern