US students make connections with Australia in EAPSI program

The 2016 EAPSI cohort from the US

US science and engineering graduate students visited Australian scientific and cultural institutions while on their summer break to conduct research and build relationships with their Australian counterparts.

The East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes program (EAPSI) is organised by the Academy in collaboration with the US National Science Foundation (NSF). It is co-funded by the NSF and the Australian Government Department of Education and Training, and supported by the Australian Embassy in Washington DC.

This year, the Academy welcomed 26 students in June for the eight-week program.

Students were introduced to Australian culture and science in Canberra, with visits to the National Gallery of Australia and Parliament House, and learned about Australian geography and topography, wildlife, bush tucker and Australia’s Indigenous history at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Professor Jenny Graves AO FAA delivered a presentation describing her research on the genetics of Australian marsupials, and JP Lawrence, a recent EAPSI graduate, talked about his experiences during the program and the further research he has conducted since returning to Australia on an Endeavour Fellowship.

The students then travelled to cities around Australia to undertake research projects at host institutions, including several universities and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). Research areas ranged from the development of algorithms for big data mining that preserve privacy, to the investigation of an unknown sensory structure in leaf-dwelling praying mantises.

The experience far surpassed any hopes that I had. I was so happy to leave the program and hear my host say he wishes I could have stayed longer. As do I! What a wonderful opportunity.Hannah Yokum, EAPSI 2016 participant
I would describe my participation in the EAPSI program as ‘vastly exceeding all expectations’. The experience allowed me to work on an individual project set at my own pace and taught me several research techniques that I will incorporate into my dissertation. [EAPSI] was one of the most valuable experiences of my career thus far. George Brusch, EAPSI 2016 participant

Applications open for EAPSI 2017

Applications are now open to US students to join the 2017 program—more information is available on the NSF website. Applications close 10 November 2016.

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