Editor, The InterMountain:

For three and a half weeks this summer, I attended the National Youth Science Camp (NYSC) at Camp Pocahontas near Bartow. This was a life-changing experience for me. While at camp, I had the chance to meet many nationally renowned scientists, as well as make 130 new friends from across the United States, South America and Germany.

During one of the directed studies, I had the opportunity to study non-euclidian geometry. Initially, this was not one of my top three choices; however, it ended up being quite fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about geometry in different planes and drawing triangles with angles that didn’t add up to 180 degrees. In another directed study, “The Physics of Medieval Siege Weapons,” we had two competing teams each building a trebuchet out of limited building materials in only two days. Victory required teamwork, ingenuity, applying of engineering principle and a whole roll of Duct Tape.

During camp, there was an outdoor program in addition to the academic focus. As part of that program, I went kayaking, something I’ve always wanted to do. Having the chance to escape into nature was a good balance to the academics. I had planned on learning how to kayak during college, but now that I know how (thanks to the NYSC) I can skip the beginner’s lesson and attempt some more technical runs. However, I still need to work on flipping upright in a submerged kayak. I also thoroughly enjoyed mountain biking. I’ve done a lot of this at home, but it was still great to get away into the West Virginia wilderness where it was just me, my friends and the trees.

Another awesome aspect of camp was the trip to Washington, D.C. Exploring the Smithsonian Institutes with a small group of science-oriented friends made the experience even better. Seeing the Library of Congress (unfortunately there was no Nicolas Cage) and eating lunch in the Russell Senate Office Building hosted by U.S. Sen. Rockefeller were also very meaningful experiences to me.

This camp has helped me build my network with the top science students and professionals in the U.S. and across the world. I hope to maintain these friendships and share my passion for science with the 2010 NYSC Alumni for the rest of my life. I also find that I have an even greater passion and excitement to pursue my scientific studies as I enter college this fall.

Thanks to the opportunity to attend the NYSC, I now have many stories to tell my family, friends and anyone else who will listen all beginning the “So, this one time at science camp … .” As a delegate from Colorado, I’d like to thank all the benefactors of the National Youth Science Foundation for making this amazing opportunity a possibility for me as well as the other delegates, and I encourage contributions to make this opportunity available for more upcoming scientists and mathematicians.

Andy Jones, Fort Collins, Colorado – 2010 NYSC