Seven local high school students represented their counties at the annual West Virginia Youth Science Camp (WVYSC) this summer. The two-week-long, all-expenses-paid, residential science honors program, held at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley, integrated a broad science curriculum with art, music and traditional summer camp recreational activities.
Bonnie Walton of Charles Town, Molly Clingan of Harpers Ferry, Dylan Covell of Martinsburg, Morgan Douglas of Martinsburg, Hana Ulman of Martinsburg, Matt Winkler of Martinsburg and Jack Younis of Shepherdstown were among 77 rising ninth and tenth grade scholars who participated in the WVYSC. Delegates exhibited leadership abilities, superior academic proficiency in science and math, and a willingness to explore various topics with peers from around the state.
Eminent visiting scientists presented lectures and hands-on directed studies to introduce delegates to a variety of scientific career options. Examples of this year's lecture and directed study topics included: Gene Expression, Heat Shielding for Space Safety, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Model Rocketry, Ink-Jet Technology, Failures in Engineering Systems, Digital Forensics, and the Physics and Technology of Artificial Lighting.
"The directed studies have broadened my horizons in the field of science I've delved deeper and into a wider variety of topics than I would have in a regular school curriculum. They have given me a chance to experience actual situations faced in science and helped me learn in a way I have never experienced," remarked Younis.
West Virginia students were not only challenged academically, but also had opportunities to participate in an outdoor adventure program of mountain biking and hiking. In addition, delegates chose daily from an array of afternoon seminars that included, among other things: stream hikes, tie dying, ballroom dancing, intro to Spanish, fly-tying and engineering design challenges. It was through these collaborative interactions that delegates grew as individuals and established lasting friendships.
"I have enjoyed making new friendships and strengthening the old," said Ulman. "This experience has given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge and grow as a person."
The West Virginia Youth Science Camp was made possible through a partnership between the West Virginia Department of Education and the National Youth Science Foundation (NYSF). Through long-range planning and fundraising, the National Youth Science Foundation, a nonprofit organization, conducts comprehensive informal science education programs to honor, sustain, and encourage youth interest and excellence in science. These premier science programs provide opportunity for constructive interaction with peers and visiting scientists and emphasize the social value of thoughtful scientific careers.