2020 National Youth Science Forum Report


As part of our Youth Service, RC Karrinyup again sponsored students to attend the 2020 National Youth Science Forum. The NYSF is a not-for-profit organisation that runs a number of residential programs to encourage young people in their passion for science. It is held in January each year and covers the subjects of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

However, for this year's successful applicants the experience was certainly not what they were expecting. Due to the Australian bushfires and the impact of smoke in the Australian Capital Territory, the National Youth Science Forum made the difficult decision to end Session A of the NYSF 2020 Year 12 Program and return participants to their families, while it was safe to do so. The biggest risk to the safety of participants was the significant smoke that Canberra continued to experience.

Alana Dooley and Nic Cleaver had their seminar cut short, while sadly and most unfortunately for our third student Kate, her seminar was cancelled altogether. This week Alana and Nic related their unprecedented adventures in Canberra.

Initially all went well and they told of attending lectures, where they learned of methods of bushfire prevention using science, they learned valuable study techniques and how to make good use of a gap year as well how how to use discernment with news items. While the students worked hard, there was a great social aspect and they made some lasting friendships.

They then told of being aroused from sleep in the middle of the night, as their residence was evacuated, and of standing outside in the smoke before being given the all clear to crawl back into bed in the wee hours. It was following this incident that they were evacuated out of Canberra by bus to Sydney and Melbourne as the NYSF reorganised their flights home.

Alana and Nic spoke of great networking, meeting some wonderful Rotarian families and, while disappointed at missing some key event like a visit to Parliament House and the Australian War Memorial, they were full of praise for the way the organisers handled the bushfire emergency.

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