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Newcastle students embrace STEM experience


Newcastle students joined hundreds of others from throughout Australia to participate in the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) this week.

Local pupils acquired their taste of the fantastic STEM opportunities on offer in the Hunter on Thursday 14 January and Friday 15 January.

The new-look NYSF Year 12 program started recently with a stellar line-up of speakers and an expanded curriculum unlike ever before.

However, the Newcastle experience resulted in youngsters attending workshops at the University of Newcastle from virtual reality radiation, engineering, robotics and more.

On Thursday 14 January, students were provided with a chance to take part in a variety of activities, including discussions with Uni ambassadors, as well as participate in the Discover Symmetry seminar; talks with Robert King (NYSF Alumni) on NYSF and beyond; partake in material science and mathematics sessions; interact with Karen Livesey (NYSF Alumni) on NYSF and beyond; tour of the Virtual Reality Radiation lab; use of the solar telescope; and join in a VR travel through a storm.

At the end of the day, they played a role in a session on robotics: coding for control – inputs and outputs, too.

Tomorrow (Friday 15 January), pupils will cover many different areas such as math, engineering, physics, the SMART syllabus, and a campus walking tour.

The broader 2021 NYSF Year 12 program also features virtual sessions from two Nobel Prize winners, more than 20 top experts in subjects ranging from venom to drones, workshops with leading scientists and STEM organisations, and an array of “live” crosses to some of the world’s best science and technology facilities, including Casey Station in Antarctica and CERN in Switzerland.

Plus, students will have an online house party with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and spend an evening with astronomer and Women in STEM Ambassador Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith.

“In a first, we are offering a range of live Science@Home digital experiences and workshops with science communicators,” CEO of the National Youth Science Forum Dr Melanie Bagg said.

“The NYSF has delivered life-changing STEM experiences for 38 years.

“And, 2021 is no different.

“It’s usually a 10-day residential experience, but the COVID-19 pandemic means a total reinvention for this iconic initiative.

“So, the NYSF has risen to the challenge delivering a predominantly digital program with in-person visits across the country happening this week, including a range of hands-on STEM visits at the University of Newcastle.”

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