Alice Wong, who graduated in May from Desert Vista High School. represented Arizona at the National Youth Science Camp, joining 108 other delegates from 50 states and eight countries in the prestigious annual science, technology, engineering and mathematics program.
The West Virginia camp “integrates engaging and thought-provoking STEM presentations and hands-on activities with adventurous outdoor experiences and performing and applied arts,” a spokesperson said.
“The program challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to try new things and be open to new ideas,” said Alice, the daughter of JC Wong and Shan Chen.
“We had several guest lectures on topics ranging from paleontology to astrophysics, including a presentation by Dr. Julie Robinson, chief program scientist of the International Space Station, about how the body reacts to being in space,” she continued. “There were also directed studies, which included hands-on activities about specific topics.
“It wasn’t all work and no play,” she added.
In the afternoons, students engaged in seminars that allowed them to explore things such as Latin dancing or underwater basket weaving.
“Outdoor recreation was a major component of NYSC since the program took place at Camp Pocahontas in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. We went on three overnight trips and had the opportunity to go outdoor rock climbing, caving, biking, kayaking and backpacking. We also traveled to Washington, D.C., for a few days to explore and learn more about science policy.”
Now a freshman at Rice University and majoring in chemical engineering, Alice had a stellar career at Desert Vista.
Besides being one of the graduating class’ four valedictorians, she was an AP Scholar, a National Merit finalist and a member of the badminton team and Health Occupations Students of America.
A camp spokesperson said participating students are selected on merit, based on their achievements, with the program provided to them at no cost, including trave.
The camp “has really helped boost my love for science and has allowed me to meet others who share similar passions,” Alice said. “I am now more confident and willing to take risks in learning new things.”
The camp is operated by the National Youth Science Foundation. To apply: apply.nysc.org.