I just graduated from the National Youth Science Camp in Bartow, West Virginia. The camp was transformative, and I wanted to share some of my experiences.
It was the middle of our three-week stay and I was panting like a dog. I had just biked through mud, rocks and brambles to the top of a steep hill. My heart was racing. After taking in the serenity of the Monongahela National Forest for a moment, my bike thundered down the dirt trail. I don’t think I have ever experienced any encounters as close to nature as I did at the National Youth Science Camp.
During my time at Camp Pocahontas, my favorite overnight trip was mountain biking. Traveling 20 miles on difficult terrain in just a day, the trek was physically and mentally demanding. In addition, being in the middle of the West Virginia wilderness allowed me to let go of my daily stresses and, instead, live in the moment.
The National Youth Science Camp is so special, because it not only has rigorous science, but also a variety of enrichment activities that allowed me to bond and form lasting friendships with my peers.
One of the lectures that particularly interested me was a lecture on cybersecurity. We learned how anything connected to the internet is vulnerable to attack. Regardless of what a hacker’s motives are, whether it is for money or political power, anyone is in danger of having either their devices or information compromised. For many institutions, their current state of cybersecurity is like living in a place where there are neither locks on doors nor policemen. Burglars could freely wreak havoc. This is a huge predicament.
However, because of the National Youth Science Camp, the other campers and I are being exposed to the real world. We were taught that, by using scientific reasoning, critical thinking and careful problem-solving, prevalent issues of today, such as the lack of sufficient cybersecurity, can be solved with enough effort.
After spending three weeks with this incredibly talented group of rising college students, I am confident that the world will become a better place.
Millburn, New Jersey