National Youth Science Camp Students Speak About the Camp

This is the third and final story about the National Youth Science Camp held this summer at Camp Pocahontas near Thornwood, WV. In this installment, you will hear directly from two of the student/campers about their selections to attend the camp and about what they are getting out of the camp.

I met Marisa, an amazing young lady who is a student at the camp.

“My name is Marisa Lucht and I am from Franklin Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee” says Lucht. “I went to Franklin High School and in the fall I will be attending the University of Notre Dame. Currently I am looking at majoring in Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics, hopefully concentrating either in Econ or also in Bio, I haven’t really decided.”


Marisa Lucht

Marisa describes why she applied for the National Youth Science Camp and a little about the process.

“I actually ended up coming to this camp kind of by random” Marisa says. “I was looking at Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo because she is one of my role models. We have a lot of things in common because our name is both Marissa and we’re both from Wisconsin and she went to this camp years ago so I looked up what the camp was and I applied by sending in transcripts, letters of recommendation, my activities and wrote a letter about why I really wanted to go to this camp, and then I got selected to come.”

Marisa talks about her first impressions of the camp.

“I really didn’t know what to expect because this camp is full of surprises and that’s something that makes it really unique” Marisa says. “Because they don’t really tell you the schedule ahead of time, they tell you the morning of and they’re like ‘this is what you’re going to do’. At first that kind of sacred me, but it’s something that I’ve come to appreciate because you really have to just live in the moment and make the most of what you are doing.”

One of the things Marisa enjoyed about coming to the camp was getting to experience West Virginia.

“I’ve never been to West Virginia and it’s definitely beautiful here in the mountains” Marisa says. “And I love Camp Pocahontas even though it’s a little rustic. It definitely has a lot of character”

While observing a Leadership training session, I met Alexander, an African-American student from Georgia.


Alexander Nichols

“Hi, my name is Alexander Nichols from Atlanta, Georgia” Alexander says. “I found out about the National Youth Science Camp actually in my junior year at the State Science Fair. From my state we have to actually make it to the State Science Fair which means we have to qualify from the school, County, Regional and make it up to the State to even get an application. And for the application process we have to write essays about why we love the sciences, and fill out the application with other things like extracurricular involvements and awards. We also have to get several recommendations. And then based on the application they select you for an interview of a panel of previous alumni of this program from this state. And then from that they select 2 people to come to this program.”

Alexander talks about what he is getting out of the camp.

“This has just been an amazing opportunity for me to meet people from across the nation and some of the most prominent figures in the Math, Scientific, Technology and, Engineering fields right now, and even some political leaders which we will be meeting later at the DC Senate luncheon” says alexander. “Also with the networking, meeting some of the youngest scientists and engineers going into the future, and I hope to make them all my friends one day so I can contact them and they can be future collaborators. And that’s what I got out of this program.”

Alexander demonstrates that being smart doesn’t mean you don’t have a sense of humor as he explains the most interesting thing her learned at the camp.

“The most interesting fact I learned here… I’m sorry, if you put this on the radio I’ll be really impressed… was that Chic Filet is not everywhere” Alexander say with a grin. “Besides that, something interesting I learned here was just that the whole concept of N equals MP problems and just understanding that computational math problem and seeing how it relates to computer science. So that was a really interesting abstract concept I found really fascinating for future projects in computer sciences.”

Don’t worry, I don’t understand most of that either. Anyway the camp is filled with future leaders in science like Marisa and Alexander.

Story By

Tim Walker

Tim is the WVMR News Reporter. Tim is a native of Maryland who started coming to Pocahontas County in the 1970’s as a caver. He bought land on Droop Mountain off Jacox Road in 1976 and built a small house there in the early 80’s. While still working in Maryland, Tim spent much time at his place which is located on the Friars Hole Cave Preserve. Retiring in 2011 as a Lieutenant with the Anne Arundel County Police Department in Maryland, Tim finally took the plunge and moved from Maryland to his real home on Droop Mountain. He began working as the Pocahontas County Reporter for Allegheny Mountain Radio in January of 2015.

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