National Youth Science Forum

February 15, 2018

During the summer school holidays, four St Patrick’s College students were selected to attend the National Youth Science Forum in Canberra. The following reports summarise their experience.

Report by Nathan Suttie, Lachlan Suttie, Lachlan Owens, Kyle Brownand Ms Janelle Spierings (Head of the Science Faculty)

Over the January holidays, four St Patrick’s College students – Nathan Suttie, Lachlan Suttie, Kyle Brown and Lachlan Owens, attended the National Youth Science Forum Year 12 program held at the Australian National University in Canberra and the University of Queensland in Brisbane.

The boys had undergone a rigorous application process and were selected to be sponsored by Rotary Clubs from Ballarat. Nathan Suttie, Lachlan Suttie and Kyle Brown attended Session A at ANU and Lachlan Owens attended Session B at UQ.

The NYSF Year 12 program is a 12-day residential program that seeks to inspire and enable Year 12 students with a passion for STEM by immersing them in the frontiers of scientific research and development. Students had a choice of interest group which influenced the type of activities that they participated in. Nathan Suttie was in the Computer Science interest group, Kyle Brown was in Biology and Lachlan Owens and Lachlan Suttie were both in Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering.

During the experience the students visited science and technology related laboratories and facilities, took part in STEM workshops, listened to lectures, went on site tours and participated in group activities and social events. Each day was jam-packed with activities that left you exhausted by the end but excited for the next.

The Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering groups visited multiple locations, such as a Civil Engineering lab and Coastal Management HQ, allowing students to get a glance at what it would be like to be an Engineer. They also attended lectures that talked about life after Year 12 and how university works.

Some standout experiences for Nathan were sitting in a videoconference with an experimental physicist from CERN in Switzerland, visiting NASA’s Deep Space Communications Complex and attending a workshop on artificial intelligence with the professor who teaches the course that he aspires to enter after high school.

There were many surprise activities and events strewn throughout NYSF that the boys did not want to spoil. Each of these helped foster a strong bond amongst the cohort. By the end we did not want to leave.

Applications for NYSF 2019 Year 12 Program open on March 1. I highly encourage any Year 11 with a passion for STEM to apply. It is truly a life changing experience.

NYSF Summary Report by Lachlan Owens

The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF for short) experience for me was a life changing experience from the lectures to the people you meet along the way. NYSF, as most likely shown by its name, has a primary focus on STEM and its related subjects. However, each day involved some sort of hard work which left you tired by night.

Upon arrival at the host location you are paired up in different groups with others who share the same interests as you (Called Interest Groups). Mine, when I arrived, was Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering which meant throughout the fortnight we would go visit multiple locations that had some relation to this subject, such as a Civil Engineering lab and a Coastal Management HQ allowing us to get a glance at what it would be like to be an Engineer and determine whether or not this path is for you.

Alongside the interest groups we would visit multiple lecture theatres that would talk about life after Year 12 how university works allowing us to get a better understanding as to how university works.