The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) Year 12 Program is one of the most prestigious STEM experiences in the country. Held annually, the program is designed to encourage young Australians to consider a future in science, technology, engineering or mathematics and provide them with an in-depth understanding of the career options available in these sectors.
Year 12 student, Vernica Mehta, was selected from hundreds of applicants across Australia to participate in the program.
Over a three-week period, Vernica took part in more than sixty digital lectures, workshops, debates, expos and social activities, including a live webinar featuring two Nobel Laureates, Professor Brian Schmidt and Professor Barry Marshall, during which Vernica had the opportunity to ask questions about their careers, research and studies.
Vernica described the program as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“Attending NYSF was one of the most unique and amazing experiences of my life. I digitally met, and interacted with, over 500 STEM enthusiasts from across Australia,” she said.
“The online format brought a new and exciting dimension to the experience, as it allowed students to connect with experts and institutes all around the world, including a live-cross to the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN), where we virtually toured the inner machinery of the Large Hadron Collider and learnt about the ATLAS experiment, the largest particle detector experiment currently being undertaken there.”
Vernica said some of the most helpful presentations supported young scientists in planning their future, such as a series on jobs in science and science communication presented by industry-leading organisations Lockheed Martin, the CSIRO and Questacon. An emphasis was placed on the importance of science communication and how it is used in policy and media to make decisions and tackle misinformation.
Each event was planned to incorporate a high level of interactivity and Vernica said there were a number of rigorous and stimulating highlights.
“Some of my favourites included workshops on gravitational waves, mathematics and art; ethical questions about space travel; and supercomputers,” she said.
“I would strongly encourage any Year 11 student interested in science to apply to attend the Forum. NYSF alumni have access to a range of post-school opportunities and the networks built and connections made at the event remain long after the program is over.”