London International Youth Science Forum – What Next?
13 Dec, 2013 by LIYSF
LIYSF staff member Deepesh Patel shares some tips on how you can still make the most of the residential visit
Author: Deepesh Patel
A lot of people share with me their phenomenal life-changing experiences at the London International Youth Science Forum. It has now been a couple of months since the forum ended and Deepesh Patel, a staff member at the forum, shares some tips with you on how you can still make the most of the residential visit… it’s not over yet!
1. Keep a record of what you did
You may have kept a journal about some of the events at the forum, even if it was just writing notes on the key lectures and demonstrations. Why not flesh these out on a document and fill in the gaps? This will force you to think about the general themes of the forum, or perhaps prompt you to research further. A journal will allow you to jog memories – you may remember a conversation you had with a friend whilst punting in Cambridge, or that you wanted to check the status of the Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science project in the Middle East (Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith’s lecture).
Over 350 young scientists attended the London International Youth Science Forum. It is unreasonable to expect to have connected to them all. But there will almost certainly be a few people who you should keep in touch with. One day it may be you planning to visit their home country and looking for advice on where to go and stay. I recently went to New York, and by coincidence, kept in touch with a good friend from a conference I attended a few years ago. Through keeping in touch, I was able to get a tour of New York by night, and lots of career advice on the job market in America. So drop a message to your friends from time to time – it’s true what they say about LIYSF – it’s the biggest family in the world!
Think about how you can leverage your network through the forum. You are connected with top scientists from over 60 different countries – this is a valuable asset, and will be useful, so keeping in touch can’t be a bad thing!
3. Spread the message
Most likely your friends are jealous that you attended one of the world’s best science forums for young people in London this year. Now that you’ve enjoyed the project, nothing is more rewarding than spreading the word and helping someone else. There is bound to be someone in your school or college that aspires to you as a role model. If you offer help and advice on how to get involved in the forum, it’s a great feeling for you, and even better for the person, you helped. So why wait, spread the message now and share your stories with friends and peers all over the world!
Attending LIYSF is an extraordinary experience that will certainly help you expand your network and progress in your career. Connect with other LIYSFers on LinkedIn and the Group, and write about your experience on your CV and personal statements. Universities and companies love that you’ve had a fulfilling international experience – so make sure you make them aware.
Adding LIYSF to your CV immediately shines out to prospective employers and universities. As an organisation, LIYSF is connected to hundreds of world-class institutions, scientists and business leaders.
4. Follow up on a topic
On average, you attended two lectures every single day at the forum. That’s almost 28 different speakers, 28 different topics, and hundreds of facts, terms, technologies, methods and theories. Many of which you may never have come across. Here’s something I recommend, and I did this when I was at university: I usually read the news article and then researched a relatively new subject that was quite topical. Science is interdisciplinary – I could usually always find links between abstract topics, and by building up my knowledge on issues outside of my evolutionary biology degree, I could approach problems from different perspectives. I would recommend picking a topic from the LIYSF programme and reading all about it.
Delving into a topic you may not feel comfortable with is one of the best ways of developing your skillset.
5. Become a specialist
Many of you come to the forum as mini-specialists in your own fields. Whether it be big data science, neurophysics or synthetic biology, the forum may have helped you one way or another. Keep up to date with that topic, by using Google Scholar, Web of Science and also by looking out for recent publications from scientists specializing in that area. What is happening in your home country? Are there any scientists or professors you can get in touch with to discuss more? If you’re at university, is there anyone at your school or university that is an expert in your topic? I use Trello as an idea board – I create a heading e.g. advances in climate change-resistant crops and add entries when they crop up (excuse the pun) on the internet.