sheetz_joshDear Contributor,

As you are aware by your investment in the National Youth Science Camp, the program you are helping to support is a truly unique and worthwhile experience. Please understand that I am nearly incapable of condensing the knowledge I gained, friendships I created, and opportunities I benefitted from into one letter. However, I have the brain of a young scientist; I’m up to the challenge.

While I was at NYSC I participated in directed studies in which I was able to explore the complexity of mathematics in origami and theorize the existence of higher dimensions. I was able to dissect an inkjet printer to understand the intricate method used to transform the words I’m typing this instant into the printed text you’re currently reading. By attending the lecture series I was introduced to the current methods of research and early detection of breast cancer. More importantly, these lectures have strengthened my proposed college major of biochemistry and my potential career in medical research. As Dr. Hongwei Yu (Marshall University) mentioned in his lecture on Biochemistry and Microbiology, becoming a medical doctor allows one to influence lives individually, but becoming a medical researcher allows one to impact thousands of lives each day.

Not only has NYSC helped me grow in science, but its location in the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia has given me once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to explore a handful of outdoor activities. I engaged in the purest form of teamwork by backpacking the Rocky Point portion of the Dolly Sods trails. Upon reaching the top, I was rewarded a breathtaking view of the West Virginia hills and a gorgeous blanket of stars in the night sky. I now have a newfound interest in mountain biking after experiencing the rush of adrenaline that comes while racing down the “trail of death” back into Camp Pocahontas. These experiences cannot be matched by any average science camp.

I believe one of the greatest, yet fundamental aspects of the program is the abundance of diversity of the students and staff. Not only have I developed lifelong friendships with students across the nation and world, but I have been given new perspectives. Your involvement is crucial to the expansion of the diversity of the program as more and more international delegates are able participate in NYSC. A theme of many of the lectures this year included the emphasis on the interconnection of the many fields of science. Thanks to NYSC, I now have connections to young scientists with extraordinary potential in all areas of science, math, and engineering.

Thank you for your interest in the National Youth Science Camp. I believe I speak for the entire delegation when I say your contribution has greatly impacted our lives in many unique ways.


Joshua B. Sheetz, NC 2011