Dear Contributor,

I am grateful for your generosity, which allows me and each of the other 116 delegates to attend the National Youth Science Camp at no charge. As a result of your generosity, I was able to meet the most diverse group of people I have ever encountered in my life. We came from all over the globe, but we shared a passion for learning, a willingness to be challenged, and an unconditional acceptance of each other. In three and a half weeks, we became a community of scholars and friends.

I had an incredible experience at the 2011 National Youth Science Camp. Many of the lecturers gave presentations about topics that I had never before considered or even heard of. During lectures, I was by turns engrossed, bewildered, fascinated, amazed, surprised, impressed, and blown away by what I heard. My brain struggled to understand and analyze challenging questions and pressing scientific issues. Could and should we try to eliminate breast cancer in our lifetimes? How can we take the discoveries made in outer space and apply them to problems that we have on our own planet? What does the phrase “sustainable agriculture” mean? Is it possible to transmit digital information into the past? Why does stuff fall apart? And, perhaps most importantly, how can we use computer science to determine the optimal way to sort a stack of pancakes?

The National Youth Science Camp may have ended, but the effect it has had on me will last for a lifetime. I have come to cherish the friends that I have made here, and I know that we will stay in touch after camp. I really feel like my horizons have been expanded, because my country and my world no longer seem so big. I know that whether I go to South Carolina or South America, there will be other NYSC delegates that will welcome me into their homes. The friendships that I have made here will no doubt prove to be valuable connections later in life. Furthermore, in high school, there were many areas that I was never exposed to. For instance, I had never learned anything about computer science. After hearing several lectures about computer science, however, I am determined to take a class in this subject next year at college, even though it falls outside of my declared major of Environmental Engineering. The lectures I have heard have taught me that science is an interdisciplinary field, and that I would benefit greatly from having a broad base of scientific knowledge to draw on.

I never expected to be selected as a delegate to the National Youth Science Camp. I am honored and privileged to have had this opportunity. I extend a sincere and grateful thanks to the many contributors who have allowed me to take advantage of this opportunity, and I urge them, through their continued financial support, to allow other delegates to have the same opportunity.


Kathleen Wu, CT 2011