I have become a strong believer that any perceived disadvantages such as coming from a remote small rural town should not hold you back in achieving any of your goals
This week, we hear from NYSF 2016 Alumnus Callum Poke, a small town boy with big hopes for his future as an engineer!
"Hi! I am Callum Poke and I grew up in Smithton, a small country town in the Far North West Coast of Tasmania. I am in my third year of a double degree in Civil Engineering and Commerce at Monash University. The National Youth Science Forum had a significant influence on my decision of what and where to study and also gave me an advantage when applying for scholarships, positions and jobs.
I attended Session A of NYSF in 2016 and was allocated the engineering group of ‘Mirzakhani’. I am a strong believer that although your time in Canberra will come to an end after the 12 days, the NYSF experience never does. To put my NYSF experience into perspective, I also attended the Melbourne Next Step Program, (now NYSF Connect Program) and was fortunate to be selected to return as a member of the Student Staff Leadership Program for 2017 and 2018.
Before attending NYSF I was quite unsure about most things university related. With interests in science and maths, I knew that I wanted to study a degree in the STEM fields and that was all. During my time in Canberra, an idea was planted in my mind about studying civil engineering and the benefits that a double degree in commerce can have. My decision to then apply to study this double degree interstate at Monash University was almost entirely due to the Next Step visit. Moving interstate presented many challenges and financing my move and time at university was one of them. Partly due to my extra-curricular activities that are heavily NYSF related, I am fortunate to be a recipient of the AIEF-BHP Tertiary Scholarship. I will be starting an internship with BHP later this year. So needless to say, my NYSF experience has had a huge impact on my tertiary education.
Since beginning my studies at Monash University, I have been involved in many groups and programs. Currently, I am the Men's Vice-President of the Monash University Hockey Club and have previously held the role of a Residential Advisor at Campbell Hall and was also a part of the Monash Minds Leadership program in 2017.
Looking back over the last few years from my own experiences, I have become a strong believer that any perceived disadvantages such as coming from a remote small rural town should not hold you back in achieving any of your goals. My advice to any students who are considering applying for the program would be to take the first step to achieving those goals and apply, as you never know what might come from it. When applications opened in 2015, I was quite nervous and debating whether to apply for NYSF but in hindsight, it has to be one of the best decisions that I have made. Not only did it provide me with insight into what I wanted to study, but it has also opened up so many new opportunities for me and has given me amazing friendships and professional connections all over Australia and even the world."