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National Youth Science Camp of 2015 comes to a close

Though most wish that camp could last a forever, all good things must eventually come to close. Bye to all the delegates, hope you enjoyed Camp!


Delegates are now scattered across the United States and the world. The students now head to their bright future in colleges, but they share the unique summer experience. They lived in cabins together, went on wild overnight experiences in each others company, and united as one delegation learned so deeply about the problems of the world. One common thread of all NYSC delegates is a desire to change the world. These ambitious students yearn to use their education not for any trivial means, but to make authentic changes in the future. Environmental damage, disease, poverty, and hunger are just some of the problems these delegates must address, but these problems are left in enthusiastic and surprisingly powerful hands.

Camp is temporary, but knowledge and friendships last a lifetime.


“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein.

Trip to DC a raging success!

Delegates arrived back from Washington DC last night! The trip was a riveting experience for the delegates. From the world famous National Mall, to the awe inspiring Smithsonian museums, the delegates were treated to the full experience. Delegates pounded the pavement as they toured the nations capital, seeing iconic sites such as the White House and the Washington Monument.

The trip was highlighted by a Senate Luncheon. Senators and ambassadors stationed in DC were in attendance as the delegates were treated to a lecture by the one and only Dr. Francis Collins. Dr. Collins holds an extremely impressive resume, as the former director of the human genome project that was completed in 2003, and now the president of the National Institutes of Health. His academic achievements are decent: A PhD in Chemistry from Yale, and a Medical degree from UNC chapel hill. Collins inspired the delegates with a narrative of his career, and encouraged them to think broadly in their studies of the sciences.

Overnighter #3 complete!

Delegates have now finished their third and final overnighter! This time an overnighter focusing on music at West Virginia University was added to the normal hiking, caving, climbing, and biking trips. Fortunately, the weather was more cooperative for overnighter #3 than for the rainy overnighter #2. Delegates were treated to the finest of the West Virginia wilderness while in the company of their peers and staph members. Many mountains were climbed, caves explored, and trails biked upon!

The delegates now have the 4th of July celebration and the trip to DC to look forward to!


Wes Bush, CEO of Northrop Grumman, Visits Camp!

Lectures at camp are always given by accomplished individuals, but today, Wes Bush — President, CEO, and Chairman of the Northrop Grumman Corporation — graced camp with his presence. Northrop Grumman employs 68,000 people worldwide and was ranked 72 on the 2011 fortune 500 list. Mr. Bush delivered this afternoon lecture, giving an overview on his company and sharing his secrets of success with the delegates. He highlighted the James Webb Space Telescope, a machine dramatically more powerful than the Hubble and scheduled for launch in 2018. Mr. Bush also lectured on the capabilities of robotic airplanes, in which Northrop Grunman was able to launch and land on a aircraft carrier with a robot-controlled plane.

Stephen Chen from West Virginia introducing Wes Bush.
Stephen Chen from West Virginia introducing Wes Bush.

Delegates are also engaged in their last block of directed studies:

Design Thinking and Mobile Apps: prototyping and user-testing a mobile application with Ms. Emily Holmes
Introduction to Failure Analysis with Dr. Mac Louthan
Block Printing with Mr. Jordan Perry
Effective Leadership and Dynamic Followership with Mrs. Kristen Sanfilippo
Part 1: The Geometric Concept of a Number and the Quantum Mechanics of Spin with Dr. Garret Sobczyk
Compose Yourself: Music Theory Basics through Composition with Ms. Ashton Nicewonger
Solvent Free Microwave Extraction of Essential Oils from Plants with Dr. David Hackleman
The Great Outdoors: Hiking, Biking, and Climbing with NYSC Outdoor Staph
Kevin from California during the Introduction to Failure Analysis directed study.

The day ended with a lecture by Dr. Mac Louthan titled: “Why Stuff Falls Apart.” This motivational lecture discussed the six fundamental causes of failure in large engineered systems: deficiency in design, improper materials selection, defects in materials, improper processing, errors in assembly, and improper service.

Free time!



Delegates Conquer the Second Overnighter!

Delegates charged through uncooperative West Virginia weather during their second overnight camping trip. Students went kayaking, climbing, and hiking all over the woods in West Virginia. Hiking groups overcame high creek levels to succeed on the trails. Climbers gripped wet rocks to conquer challenging routes. Even the less than ideal weather couldn’t diminish the enthusiasm of this group of incoming college freshmen.  IMG_2465


Associate Professor at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Dr. Nate Cady, presented this evenings lecture: ““Fighting Slime: Lessons from Nature on Combating and Embracing Bacterial Biofilms”. He disscussed his research in methods that combat biofilm. Oftentimes his methods are inspired from natural systems.IMG_2520

First Overnight Camping Trips!

Delegates came back from the Wilderness straight into Camp Pocahontas! They are returning from biking, climbing, and hiking trips scattered throughout the Monongahela National forest. The Monongahela National Forest is awesome–check out the photos below! The delegates turned campers spent the night in tents while exploring some of the most beautiful woods in North America. Although camping of this sort does not relate “directly” to science, the sights and sounds of the forest will hopefully inspire a natural curiosity into every delegate at the National Youth Science Camp.  It also gives the delegates the chance to face obstacles and work together as a group to overcome both expected and unexpected challenges.

Kasey Leavell from Montana enjoys the view



Quinn Zacharias from Florida is ready to roll!

After a long awaited shower and a hot meatloaf dinner, the delegates went straight to lecture. Sounds a bit harsh, but this is science camp after all. This evenings topic is Quantum Computing, delivered by Dr. Scott Aaronson from MIT. He addressed how computational complexity has been interacting with physics in unexpected ways.


From Camp into the Wild!

Today, the 2015 delegates learned more about “How Molecular Medicine and precision Genomics will Revolutionize Cancer Therapy” from Dr. Chuck Clevenger of Northwestern University. Genomics are rapidly progressing, leading to massive changes in the way doctors are able to deal with cancer. Later, cancer is brought up again in Dr. Rick Walker’s Lecture “Why We Won’t Find a Cure For Cancer And Why We Don’t Want To”.  Although the topic is controversial, apparently it may be better to control cancer rather than to destroy it with chemotherapy.

Learning the basics of navigation!
And melting crayons!

Seminars were once again held by various staph members, including, but not limited to: crayon melting, creative writing, fly fishing, and Portuguese 101.  The delegates also received their outdoor orientation, which included how to put together tents, use a portable stove and water filter, and, most importantly, to make a “phone call” (code for using the bathroom in the woods). Just after dinner, they selected their overnight trips, which included: hiking, biking, climbing, or caving.

Due to overnight trips, look out for the next update on June 23rd!