Each year our club advertises for potential candidates to attend the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF). They are in Year 11 when they apply, and the Forum is held in January of the following year. Venues are the Australian National University, Canberra (where all our candidates will attend), and the University of Queensland, St Lucia. The applicants undergo an interview with their host club and, if successful, will undergo an interview with the Rotary District selection team. After that the successful candidates are informed about which forum they are to attend. Only highly motivated and qualified science students are selected, as the competition level is very high.
This year, our club was in the fortunate position of being able to select three potential candidates, all of whom passed the District selection process and were given positions in a Forum.
Our speaker for this meeting was Zoe Roetteler,
Zoe opened her remarks by thanking the club for the opportunity and for the fee support. She has a strong passion for science, and an obsession with the sky since she was young. She would lie on the driveway or on the trampoline and look at the sky - moon and stars. When he grandpa died and she was quite young, she was told that he had gone to live on the moon, so she watched the moon.
As time went on she started studying astronomy charts, and finding stars. She decided that she wanted to be an Astrophysicist, and attended everything she could. The World Science Festival was visited every year. She read Science Illustrated from cover to cover, and did research. In addition, she followed every science related social media outlet she could find. The ANU provided a free online course so she did that as well. It involved Cosmology, Hubble, and such topics.
In Grade 10 she started to do various branches of science, including Chemistry. She asked herself why should she shut herself off from other aspects of science? She put a chemical element chart on her wall beside the astronomy pictures. Then she did biology. She decided to extract DNA from strawberries and bananas in the kitchen. She tried to make a bananaberry.
Now she is here. She has done years of research and has a head full of useless facts. She doesn't know what to do. She is hoping that NYSF will help.
The club encouraged her, saying that she is on the right track by going to NYSF, and that she will see lots of things she has not even thought of before. The best thing is to go with an open mind and let the Forum talk to her. We congratulate Zoe on such an inspiring talk.