BSSC Year 12 student and  National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) participant, Jenna Barton, knew she was smitten with Science when her Unit 3-4 Biology exam came around in 2021.

Even after the exam was over, rather than feeling relieved, Jenna knew she wanted to learn more about organisms and cellular functions.

“It was a bit startling,” she admits. “Most people are glad to put a subject behind them, but something about biology captivated me, to the point where I couldn’t let it go.”

While many of her peers were hitting the beach, or taking a well-earned break from study, Jenna was attending NYSF online, meeting other like-minded young scientists and hearing from some of the leaders in STEM from around the globe.

“The most valuable parts of the program for me were the careers sessions,” she says. “Hearing from university-aged students from around the country eased my nerves about study scores, and listening to passionate scientists about their work gave me some insight into what a career in STEM could actually look like for me.”

For Jenna, it was a relief to discover that not all careers in STEM revolve around laboratory research.

“I plan to study Biomedicine or Biomedical Sciences at university, which I only considered because of the careers sessions run through the NYSF program,” she says.

“Before NYSF, I knew I wanted to follow my passion for biology, but Medicine seemed too difficult and Biochem or Microbiology didn’t pique my interest.”

It was during one of those careers sessions that a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences was promoted by one of the program’s university partners. Immediately the idea felt right for Jenna.

“NYSF was invaluable for me as it gave me a clear sense of direction and a plausible, appealing idea for future study,” she says.

Wherever life leads her, Jenna knows that science will be a part of it.

“I love how, through science, it’s possible for us to find explanations for the natural world and create solutions to problems,” she says.

“I find it so interesting to think about how the complexity of human body systems is shown through the number of diseases that occur when specific mechanisms don’t work properly, and the intricacy of things such as immune responses and stem cells.”

NYSF Applications are now open. Each year the Rotary Clubs of Bendigo help support BSSC students to have this incredible opportunity.

If you’d like to learn about future pathways and engage with other like-minded young people from all around Australia contact Jane Fong for more information: