Erica Lai, a 2010 graduate of Holmdel HS from Holmdel, New Jersey, was selected to represent New Jersey at the National Youth Science Camp® (NYSC) this summer from June 29 to July 23. Lai joined 109 other top high school graduates representing the United States as well as students from nine other countries at the prestigious four-week program, now in its 46th year. The camp, located in the beautiful and rustic setting of the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia, integrates scientific programming with opportunities for delegates to explore music, art, and the outdoors.
Each year, eminent scientists from various disciplines travel to the camp to present lectures and directed studies. This year’s lecture topics included: Global Warming, Genomic Medicine, Radio Astronomy, and Energy Sustainability. Throughout camp, a Directed Study series provided extensive “hands-on” experiences in specific fields. According to Lai, “The National Youth Science Camp has allowed me to experience a multitude of branches and fields of science I would have never had a chance to experience in high school or at college (because of the learning towards my major). While I am sure I will go into engineering, the National Youth Science Camp has opened my mind to applications I have never considered before, and may pursue.” Delegates had the opportunity to dissect a human hand, discuss bioethics, explore forensic science techniques, and search through the DNA sequence of a genetic disease.
In addition to learning about groundbreaking scientific research, delegates also explored their natural surroundings through an extensive outdoor program consisting of hiking, caving, mountain biking, and rock climbing. The delegates may choose from an array of afternoon seminars ranging from Ultimate Frisbee and swing dancing to discussions of philosophy, travel, religion and culture. Regarding these experiences, Lai said, “I have always appreciated nature, but the overnighters exposed me to both sides of it; the beauty and serenity as well as the obstacles. The sun lighting up the patch of grass beside the stream while we were napping during the Pig’s Ear hike was picture perfect, and not flipping while kayaking was a great achievement. Doing all this with the most awesome friends topped it all off!” Erica Lai is planning to study Engineering (undecided) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall.
Contributions to the National Youth Science Foundation make it possible for all delegates to attend NYSC free of charge, including round-trip transportation.
For more information, please contact:
Andrew N. Blackwood, Ed.D.
National Youth Science Foundation
P.O. Box 3387
Charleston, WV 25333-3387
(304) 342-3326 voice
(866) 833-0875 fax