Rodolfo Villarreal-Calderon, a 2010 graduate of Big Sky High School from Missoula, Montana, was selected to represent Montana at the National Youth Science Camp® (NYSC) this summer from June 29 to July 23. Villarreal-Calderon 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 Villarreal-Calderon, “My time at camp has no doubt reinforced my passion for science in general, as well as bringing related branches to mind in piquing my interest. The directed study on ethics, for example, reminded me of sciences ability to ceaselessly bring about knowledge, research, or situations; and our responsibility as critical thinkers to address these ethical questions both on a personal level and in a healthy discussion.” 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, Villarreal-Calderon said, “The first lecture of camp by Allan Daly really impacted me. He provided an example of a single person forming the first domino, that tumbled and resulted in a significantly improved hospital in a third world country. I had already had this kind of experience in mind for my future - donating a part of a year as a physician to an impoverished, neglected area or third world country. Not only did this lecture provide further inspiration for me, but it also reminded me that my future work as a doctor in such areas could not be limited solely to direct healthcare, but to expanding and deepening infrastructures so as to continue this cycle of development and health after my visits.” Rodolfo Villarreal-Calderon is planning to study Human Biology at University of Montana 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