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Week 1, Session A of NYSF 2019 – What a Week! - feature image, used as a supportive image and isn't important to understand article

“My advice is, have fun, follow your heart, and change the future.” Professor Nick Birbilis, Deputy Dean of Engineering and Computer Science, ANU

The first week of the NYSF 2019 Year 12 Program, Session A in Canberra is over and what an action-packed week it has been! Here are just some of the highlights so far of the first seven days of the program:

Arriving on the 2ndof January, our participants received a rock star welcome as they clambered off the buses. After dinner, it was time for some "get to know you" games on the Burgmann College lawns and then the first briefing from the student staff and NYSF corporate team.

Week 1, Session A of NYSF 2019 – What a Week! - content image

On the first full day of the program, participants dressed up for the Opening Ceremony in Parliament House.  The Hon Kate Lundy, Deputy Chair of the NYSF Board and former Senator, welcomed the students, and shared her enthusiasm for the program gained from hearing countless stories over her twenty years as a Senator about the alumni who had attended the program and so thoroughly enjoyed their experience.

The Hon Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology joined us via video to congratulate the students on being selected for the program and Margaret Hassall, Rotary District 9710 Governor, also spoke on behalf of Rotary to welcome everyone.

Week 1, Session A of NYSF 2019 – What a Week! - content image

The key speaker for the day was Professor Nick Birbilis, Deputy Dean of Engineering and Computer Science at the Australian National University's College of Engineering and Computer Science. Nick shared his passion and enthusiasm for the future of science, talking about the 4th industrial revolution and the Reimagine project. “…A combination of physical (engineering), computational (information technology) and biological systems. Virtual reality, robotic medicine, artificial intelligence (such as self-driving cars or simply computer-based decision making), bioinformatics, space engineering, are just some of the future occupations many of you may not have heard of, but many of you will be working in!”

In the afternoon it was time to delve into some hard science with the Welcome Lecture. Dr Chris Hatherly (NYSF/NSSS 1996) spoke about his background and work with the Australian Academy of Science, and NYSF 1991 Alumni Professor Lisa Kewley, an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and Director of ASTRO 3D, then gave a lecture about her work in Astrophysics – which has taken her to amazing places all around the world.

Week 1, Session A of NYSF 2019 – What a Week! - content image

The second full day started with a session on critical thinking, a vital skill in these times of having so much information at our fingertips and fake news circulating freely. In the afternoon it was off to the first round of STEM visits, where participants split up into their 14 interest groups to explore labs, research centres and facilities around Canberra to see science at work.

Monday kicked off with the Specialist Lectures with some highly regarded guest speakers.

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The afternoon saw more STEM visits all around Canberra including:

  • investigating the science of coffee at Two Before Ten,
  • learning about recycling with ACT Gov No Waste,
  • paying respects at the Australian War Memorial,
  • discovering what’s on offer at the CSIRO Discovery Centre,
  • getting to the bones of it with ANU Bio-anthropology,  
  • getting sporty with ACU Exercise Science and
  • programming robots with Robogals at ANU CECS

And that’s only naming a few!

Week 1, Session A of NYSF 2019 – What a Week! - content image

While that takes care of the program during the day, there were also plenty of fun evening activities from ice-breakers and residential floor suppers, and from the Science Relay Quiz to the Swing Dance and finally, the science-themed disco with some excellent costumes.

Chief of Staff, Blake has had a great first week supporting the students on session.

“Despite the Canberra heat at the start of the week, the vibe has been incredible so far. It’s been great to see all the students from such different backgrounds and from all around the country making new friends and sharing the experience of an action-packed first week. We are all super excited for the second week and can’t wait to get deeper into the nitty-gritty science with more STEM visits.”

As we said … action-packed. Can’t wait for week two!