STEM (Science, Technology , Engineering & Science)
The NYSF is short for the National Youth Science Forum and is a not-for-profit organisation. They run a program every year, called the NYSF Year 12 Program (NYSFY12P), which takes in year 11 students going into year 12 who have an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as not just a subject in school, but as a career as well. I believe that this program will benefit you if you’re open-minded about learning various things in STEM fields and you are not entirely sure what you want to do in the future (even though I personally knew what I wanted, this program was a good learning opportunity in general).
The first part of the program included a bunch of online events (some of which involved you getting hands on) that occurred over the summer break and you’d join in on them via Zoom. Depending on the events you choose to attend, you could learn about different things.
Some of the events I tuned into included a tour of the Large Hadron Collider (a device that accelerates two particles to near the speed of light and causes them to collide), an activity revolving around cryptography (the technology that keeps your phone locked and private information private) and a presentation about my thinking (which admittedly might sound boring but trust me, this really boggled my mind in the best way possible). I found these events extremely interesting, but they might not be your cup of tea so you just have to choose the right events. Even then, I would encourage you to go to as many events as possible because, who knows, you might find something that hadn’t struck you as interesting before!
You were also assigned a “Constellation” group consisting of a lot of other NYSFY12P students from across Australia and every so often after the various presentations, you would meet up with your group virtually and partake in various activities with guidance from “staffies” (who are only one to three years older than you are!) The staffies presented us with a couple of riddles that confused many of us, but alas, there were a few who were able to work them out. They had also lined up other various activities to complete as a group and I personally found it really enjoyable to work and play with them after a long day of online events.
The second part of this program involved going to places around Melbourne. This would normally happen during the summer break but due to COVID restrictions, we could only attend during the second week of the term 2 holidays. Personally, the places I went to was Lockheed Martin Australia’s STELarLab and the Defence Science Technology Group (DSTG). While both places often collaborated with Australia’s security in their interests, I found that the former was closer to a “start-up” office that was mostly focused on analysis of scenarios, while the latter involved research and development of materials with plenty of complex machinery to not only produce said materials but to test them as well. The DSTG was a pretty high-security government facility that required us to have an ID and there were sections which we could not enter with any electronic devices on us, while the STELarLab was far more lax in their security policies and didn’t even require us to have an ID. I found all of it fascinating and I wish I could have done more tours, but unfortunately due to mid-year exams and other events I had planned out for the holidays, I could not go to all the ones I wanted to.
Overall, I had a blast attending the program. I met a lot of good, ambitious and interesting people that also had interests outside of STEM-related things and I even discovered how diverse the applications of my interests are. It was an eye-opening experience for sure and I implore that you go if you have any interest in STEM.
Are you in Year 11 and interested in attending in 2023? Find out more details here: https://www.nysf.edu.au/programs/year-12-program/ or speak with Ms Hanley.
Applications close August 14, 2022.
Lance Lui Lam – Student of 12C