'You are lucky to be scientists at this point in time' - Professor Anne Kelso
After the arrival of our students on Wednesday, official proceedings kicked off with a visit to Parliament House for the Opening Ceremony. Staffie Ash chaired the event and began with an insightful Welcome to Country acknowledging Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander cultures as our Nation’s very first scientists.
Our keynote speaker was Professor Paul Martin, Director of the Research School of Psychology at the Australian National University. He maintained the importance of students to follow their interests and not necessarily their strengths, and advocated a career in scientific research because of the ‘challenging, but exciting’ nature of the work.
The students then attended a tour of Parliament and participated in a mock parliamentary enquiry in which students were invited to debate the pros and cons of implementing an energy target for nuclear power. The discussion raised many important issues including the prospect of new jobs whilst considering the land rights and traditions of Aboriginal Australians on whose land the hypothetical nuclear power plant was to be built.
'The Mock Parliament exposed me to a side of politics I didn't know existed and really opened my eyes up to what happens in Parliament'- Madi Morgan, Student
NYSF alumnus Dr. Chris Hatherly from the Australian Academy of Science spoke at the first formal lecture, raising excitement within the student group by expressing the unique experience of NYSF and the opportunity of 'learning things only a handful of people across the world know.'
The next guest speaker was the CEO of the National Health and Medical Research Council, Professor Anne Kelso who described her journey through research and beyond. In Professor Kelso's mind, the NYSF students ‘are lucky to be scientists at this point in time’ with so many developing and undiscovered fields emerging, stressing the importance of the growing field of data science in the coming years.
'Science shows us beyond the natural beauty of our world, and instead exposes us to what is hidden or what still remains to be discovered.'- Professor Anne Kelso
Levels of excitement and anticipation are building and we can’t wait to see what the rest of Session C has in store for our students.