When Year 12 student, Bevan Matsacos, says he really likes Software Development it’s no exaggeration.
Not having studied it in Year 11, he recently transferred into it—managing to catch up on over a half term’s work during one intense weekend.
“Programming language is entirely different to all other languages with its own syntax and rules,” Bevan explains.
“Luckily I’ve done some programming prior to VCE, so I’m not completely new to it, though I do wish I had Units 1 and 2.”
Bevan spent some time with careers staff before he made the program switch and found it really helpful to understand the importance of programming to his potential further study options—and perhaps a career in robotics or electronics.
Over the summer break, he attended the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF). Among the many benefits of being part of this forum, Bevan is confident that whatever university he studies at, there will be someone there he has met through NYSF.
Bevan is no stranger to teamwork. At his 7 – 10 college, he took part in the Thales Design Competition and was involved with two groups, one of which progressed to state level creating a pollen-detection system.
It was one of his STEM teachers there who first recommended he apply for NYSF.
“Apart from anything else, I thought the actual application process would really benefit me,” he says. “Interviewing and public speaking are definitely skills I’d like to improve. I also wanted to meet people interested in the same things as me and to see if the program could help me work out exactly what I want to do long-term.”
Due to Covid-19, this year’s NYSF was a very different experience for everyone involved.
While experiences such as a tour of the Hadron Particle Collider were fantastic, it became apparent to Bevan—and others—that guidelines stipulating students could only interact with their ‘buddy’, were hamstringing those interactions.
The ‘human connection’ aspect of NYSF is almost universally a highlight for students and so Bevan and another student quietly went about setting up a series of group chats so that everyone could keep in the loop and talk with whoever they chose to.
“There were 500 students in the program and 435 of them used the platform,” Bevan says. “I’m still in contact with about 20 of them each week and we also have movie nights.”
He’s hopeful the platform will become a part of the NYSF experience.
For Bevan, coming to BSSC was both a step into a breadth of opportunity and a collision with what he says is the ‘downside’ of his learning style.
“I have a natural propensity to think sequentially,” he says, “and I thrive on anything that involves hands-on problem-solving processes such as those used in VET IT… that practical application of knowledge.
“If someone was asking me about BSSC I would recommend it for the facilities, the chance to take up a broad range of subjects and how approachable the teachers are. But if you’re learning style is like mine, the amount of freedom will probably be a challenge.”
Looking back over his education, Bevan is grateful for the opportunities and support he’s had—especially from his parents whose careers and interests are in other areas.
“I’ve been really lucky with who I know and who I’ve met,” he acknowledges.
If Bevan could meet and chat with anyone in the world, he would choose the enigmatic web developer and game show host, Tom Scott, who also has a devoted YouTube fan base. Some of his videos have even made an appearance in Bevan’s English Language class.
Outside of school, Bevan volunteers his computer skills for a fabulous program that recycles old computers and sends them to the Congo where they are much-appreciated ‘new’ technology.
“We take computers donated by TAFE, the hospital and other large organisations and clean them up, get them working, and then arrange transport by sea,” he says. “Sometimes, when we are getting close to shipping, the warehouse floor disappears under hundreds and hundreds of computers stacked up on shelves.”
When asked what he’s proud of, Bevan qualifies his answer this way…
“I always see ways to do things better once they’re done,” he explains. “I see the imperfections and limitations that I didn’t see at the start of the process, and so how can I feel ‘proud’ of something that can clearly be improved upon?”
Given this, the advice he would offer his 12-year-old self is not surprising.
“You’re probably not going to be great at, or enjoy, some things—but try lots of different things and you’ll end up in a good place.”