Charleston, West Virginia – The National Youth Science Academy (formerly the National Youth Science Foundation) is pleased to announce that after three years of fully virtual national programming, the 2023 National Youth Science Camp (NYSCamp) will return to the mountains of West Virginia. Traditionally hosted in West Virginia since 1963, this summer’s 60th anniversary NYSCamp will be the first time since 2019 the camp has been held in person.

The 2023 NYSCamp will be a hybrid experience for nearly 100 delegates from across the United States and from nine additional Western Hemisphere countries. For the first five days of camp (June 19-23), delegates will tune in from home via Zoom. Then delegates will gather at Camp Pocahontas in Bartow, WV from June 24 to July 10. Camp will then culminate in a two-day trip to Washington DC, after which delegates will travel home on July 12th

For the first time in the camp’s 60-year history, the application process was opened to rising high school seniors as well as graduating high school seniors. These high-achieving students were selected by their states’ Governors’ offices or U.S. Embassies in their countries because they are among the best and brightest science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) students in the Western Hemisphere. In addition to a shared affinity for studying STEAM topics and pursuing STEAM careers, they also demonstrated marked excellence in their STEM and overall education, extracurricular activities, community service, and potential for future achievements and leadership. Domestic delegates will represent 45 states and Washington, DC. Additionally, thanks to a generous grant from the Education and Cultural Affairs (ECA) division of the U.S. State Department, the international delegation will include 13 delegates from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Presenters at the 2023 NYSCamp were selected from among prestigious and up-and-coming STEM professionals who are making a difference in their fields of study and changing the world for good. Topics of study at camp will include biomedical research and therapies, climate & energy research, paleontology, AI (ChatGPT), big data, genetics, and stress management. This will include at least 25 world-class lectures from prominent STEM experts including: the Deputy Director for Earth Science at NASA; a 2006 MacArthur Fellow; a world-renowned podcaster; a Hollywood film producer; a bestselling author in parasitology and microbiology; and many distinguished professors who are leading experts in their fields of study. 

Throughout their camp experience, delegates will also have opportunities to attend multiple seminars and 3-day directed studies with STEM experts, participate in an outdoor program that includes caving, mountain biking, hiking, backpacking, and camping, and tour the Green Bank Observatory and monuments and museums in Washington, DC. The camp will also include arts and recreational programming as well as special musical events and other fun surprises. Overall, the camp is designed to provide delegates with opportunities to interact with STEM experts, build lasting friendships, and get a jump start on changing the world for good.

NYSCamp Director, Brian Kinghorn, Ph.D., noted, “although I was the camp director who pivoted the camp to a fully virtual format during the COVID-19 pandemic, I was fully committed to planning an in-person camp as soon as we were confident that we could do so safely. After directing the camp virtually for three years, I am absolutely thrilled that we will be back in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia for our 60th anniversary. My staph (purposefully misspelled to connote their infectious enthusiasm) and I are eager to provide life-changing and horizon-expanding opportunities for each of our amazing delegates as we welcome them to Almost Heaven, West Virginia.”

The NYSCamp, which was first hosted by the State of West Virginia in 1963 as part of the state’s Centennial, is held at Camp Pocahontas in the Monongahela National Forest. Since its inception, the NYSCamp has honored over 6,300 students, giving them the opportunity to participate in a rigorous STEM enrichment program. Operation and financial support for this program were taken over by the National Youth Science Foundation (a 501(c) (3) organization) in 1983. In 2022, the NYSF rebranded as the National Youth Science Academy (NYSAcademy). The mission of the NYSAcademy is to inspire lifelong engagement and ethical leadership in STEAM through its proven educational model for mentoring, challenging, and motivating students. By building communities among students, teachers, and professionals, NYSAcademy programs bridge the gap between the traditional school curriculum and STEAM careers. The NYSCamp has been the Academy’s well-established response to the documented need for improved STEM education among promising youth across the country.

In addition to the generous contribution and cooperation from the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), the camp was also made possible through generous contributions from the State of West Virginia, Northrup Grumman, the Martha Gaines and Russell Wehrle Memorial Foundation, the Daywood Foundation, and NYSCamp alumni and friends.