When I shared the news that I would be attending the National Youth Science Camp, most of my conversations consisted of these 3 questions:
Where is it? What’s the cost? What will you be doing?
Initially, all I knew was that all expenses were covered by a scholarship given by the U.S Department of State. Other than that, all I could find after days scouring the internet was that the camp took place somewhere within the mountains of West Virginia and delegates will take part in various unspecified science and outdoor activities. In sum, not much was known about this camp.
Well, from the grand experience I had, it turned out to be more than just “a science camp for smart kids”.
I partook in several lectures and scientific studies, that indeed exposed me to various fields within STEM that I initially never considered. I encountered personnel within Astrophysics, Neuroscience, Hydro-geology and even Entrepreneurship…just to name a few. Although, this exposure essentially broadened my perspective of the world of Science, it also showcased the variety of the new technological advancements taking place within society.
Furthermore, the outdoor activities were spectacular. The picturesque and serene woods of West Virginia allowed for some much needed self-introspection and relaxation…that is, when we weren’t slipping and falling in the mud, but I guess that was part of the fun! After all of the star gazing, marshmallow roasting and even sunrise-viewing by the lake, I developed a greater appreciation for the beauty and diversity of nature. So much so, camping and hiking are now two activities I would love to implement into my daily life.
Albeit, the most memorable part of camp was the people. Initially, the thought of having to live alongside 110 other teenagers you have never met before from all over the U.S and other countries, seemed quite daunting. But this was not the case as time progressed. These kids and even the Staph* were some of the most welcoming, genuine and inspirational persons I have ever met. Not only were we able to quickly bond over our love for science and other similar interests, but we were able to open up and help each other in every way.
In retrospect, this was a trifecta win for me, in that the camp re-instilled my passion for science, while allowing me to broaden my horizons and think outside of the box more often and lastly, to relax and go with the flow.
If you are someone passionate about STEM, I strongly encourage you to apply to this program. You are sure to experience things that you’ve never considered before but just may love, while growing to appreciate spontaneity and meet extraordinary people who will indubitably change the world. I guarantee it will be the experience of a lifetime.
Finally, I would like to publicly thank The National Youth Science Foundation, the U.S Embassy and Department of State and NIHERST for facilitating this opportunity for the students of Trinidad and Tobago.
* Not misspelled; this is a traditional NYSCamp spelling to highlight their infectious enthusiasm.