Australian National University, Canberra

From 5-13 January I was lucky enough to participate in the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) at the Australian National University in Canberra. 

The application process was fairly rigorous, consisting of a written application with school reports and teacher recommendation letters, as well as a lengthy interview. Before the program, we also had the opportunity to attend a function hosted at the Victorian Government House by the Governor herself!

During the program, we got to attend lab visits, expos, field trips, lectures and seminars with some of the brightest students and professionals from around the country. I was part of the Chemistry focus group, in which we got to attend the research schools of Chemistry, Earth Sciences and Health, hearing from experts in the fields and experiencing world class facilities. 

We had the opportunity to meet science communicators and space ethicists, computational linguists and medical professors. Some groups even got to go to top secret forensic science agencies!

NYSF has been the most amazing experience, one that I wish I could relive again and again. It’s opened my eyes to the myriad of careers in STEM and shown me how diverse the field really is. It’s an interdisciplinary effort, where people from all walks of life, with all sorts of passions can come together to build knowledge, make it accessible and apply it. 

Of course, the best part of this program has been the amazing people I have met. I have made friends and connections that will last a lifetime, and I’m now part of the NYSF alumni community– a community that I’m so proud to be part of. 

Finally, I would love to give a huge thank you to the Mount Waverley Rotary Club for sponsoring me, as I would not have been able to attend this program without them. They have been massive supporters of our school’s community, especially our Interact Club for years, and my involvement in Interact has helped me come across amazing opportunities like NYSF. So for any students reading this– consider joining our school’s Interact Club! Emails to sign up will be coming out soon! 

And for any students currently in Year 11 – apply for NYSF! If you’re a crazy STEM nerd, or even someone that’s vaguely interested in STEM but unsure what path to take, it is an amazing experience you will never forget. 

Farah H, 12F


Australia Day – Rotary Club, Mount Waverley

The issue of the date and meaning of Australia Day is a highly contested debate, drawing on a wide range of perspectives – especially intergenerationally, and on Wednesday 24 January, Farah and I had the opportunity to speak at the Rotary Club of Mount Waverley’s Australia Day meeting. We were asked to share our perspectives as younger Australians on what the 26th means to us, the challenges it poses, but the opportunities Australian communities (and our involvement in volunteering) also provide.

We contended that we believe the date of Australia day should be changed, as the current date does not truly reflect what it means to be an Australian and yields grief for many.  As part of the opportunities our local communities grant us, Farah shared about her recent trip to the Australian National University for the National Youth Science Forum which was partially funded on a scholarship from the club. During the meeting we also had the opportunity to answer questions about our presentations, chat to members, and observe the rest of the meeting, hearing about the numerous incredible community initiatives Rotary is taking.

By Georgia K, Year 12