National Youth Science Camp
The National Youth Science Camp (NYSCamp) is a residential science education program for young STEM enthusiasts the summer after they graduate from high school. Students from around the country (two are selected to represent each state and Washington, D.C.) are challenged academically in exciting lectures and hands-on studies, and have voluntary opportunities to participate in an outdoor adventure program, gain a new and deep appreciation for the great outdoors, and establish friendships that last a lifetime.
I had the opportunity to be one of 106 students from the Western Hemisphere to attend the National Youth Science Camp. I applied to NYSC not thinking I was good enough to get in. When I found out I was one of two people to represent Nebraska at camp, I was shocked and assumed I was the only one that applied. When I met the other Nebraska delegate, she had the same feelings. When I got to camp, everyone else felt the same way. Everybody at camp were top students with a passion for science, but nobody felt they deserved to be there. After 3.5 weeks of learning about topics outside of my comfort zone, exploring the outdoors in new and unfamiliar adventures, and talking to kids and adults who thought the exact same way I did, I was reminded of how truly passionate and excited I am about science. I met friends to last a lifetime, made connections with professionals to help in the future, and made my voice heard to senators about the importance of science education. There is no way to accurately convey what I experienced and how it changed me without spoiling the secrets of the magic of NYSC and their fairies.