I first became acquainted with NSTF through the Science Art Contest when I was still in Year 6. My entry went on to become the logo of the School Contest for Young Scientists for the next few years, and naturally the very next year I went on to enter the Contest. I was hooked. Through the Contest, NSTF gave me the opportunity to learn and research a science topic I was interested in, to design experiments and to come up with my own solutions.
Five years later I had taken part in the Contest 3 times, winning it twice. The confidence it gave me, and the huge development it allowed me to make in my presentation and speaking skills was enormous. Further, NSTF gave me the opportunity to take part in no less than 3 other international ExpoSciences, which not only furthered my personal development but continued to open up my mind to new cultures and to the different possible approaches for the problems we all face in life.
It was safe to say that NSTF helped guide me into a career in science. But one of NSTF’s major strengths is the variety of opportunities it offers, and in Sixth Form I tapped into this by deciding to try out something completely new: The Mini-European Assembly. NSTF had already helped me work beyond my comfort zone and thus taking part in MEA felt like the right thing to do. Learning about foreign countries, becoming aware of common European issues and negotiating compromises with other teams was immensely interesting. NSTF gave me a brand new interest in politics and student activism.
NSTF made me realise we humans are multifaceted with varied interests, and that these interests are not mutually exclusive. Rather, it helped me merge them together and find a very specific niche at University. I went on to become an active member of the Malta Medical Students’ Association, serving in 2 positions on its Executive Board, developing a policy statement on Healthy Ageing, and currently helping to organise an international student conference in Malta. I credit NSTF with helping me discover more about myself, specifically my hidden strengths and for helping me unlock them and use them for the good of society.
NSTF gave me so much over the years, but perhaps its greatest gift, was curiosity. NSTF made me aware that there is so much knowledge out there waiting to be tapped. It taught me skills and gave me information in a completely different way from what I was used to at school. It inspired me to take the initiative, go out into the world and look for the facts myself, to discern the valid from the invalid, to be innovative and yet evidence-based, and ultimately to master the topics I cared about and to do something with them which was practical and real. For me, and countless others, NSTF made learning fun and astonishingly addictive.
Prizes: NSTF Science Art Contest Special Prize, NSTF School Contest for Young Scientists - 1st (2003), 1st (2005) & 3rd (2007), 1st placed team NSTF MEA (2008-2009), and NSTF MEA Elvia Agius & Gerald Montanaro Prize (2010-2011)