National Youth Science Foundation holds virtual camp this year

Opening Virtual Session National Youth Science CampOut of an abundance of caution in response to the COVID-19 national health emergency, the National Youth Science Foundation cancelled the in-residence portion of the National Youth Science Camp (NYSCamp) this year. This was only the second time since 1963 that the annual program has not been held in West Virginia.

One-hundred eight delegates representing the United States, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago did, however, have the opportunity to connect from home for an exclusive virtual program. The 2020 Virtual NYSCamp featured a lecture series, directed studies, breakout seminars, special events and a panel discussion with STEM policy experts.

NYSCamp Director Dr. Brian Kinghorn, assistant professor of curriculum, instruction and foundations at Marshall, noted that “these NYSCamp delegates are some of the best and brightest STEM students from across the nation and deserve to be recognized for their potential for leadership and achievements. The virtual camp provided them with opportunities to interact with STEM experts, build lasting friendships and get a jump start on changing the world for good.”

Clio presentation at National Youth Science Camp

Marshall’s other connections to this year’s camp included a presentation by Dr. David Trowbridge, associate professor of history and creator of the Clio online history app. He also led a directed study with 8 delegates who worked to create their own Clio entries under his guidance.

“I am honored to work with students around the country as part of Marshall University’s faculty in support of the National Youth Science Camp,” Trowbridge said. “It’s been incredible to see Clio grow to include science and the arts, and I look forward to seeing what the delegates build with it.”

In addition, Marshall student Ellie White taught a directed study on radio astronomy at the virtual camp. She was a recent TEDxMarshallU speaker and has been named a Goldwater Scholar.

Gilbert at National Youth Science CampPresident Gilbert was a delegate from Mississippi in 1973 and his son, Peter, was a delegate years later.

Two of this year’s delegates will attend Marshall this fall. Delegate Isabella “Bella” Marie Schrader, a delegate from Ohio, is part of incoming class of Yeager Scholars. Cheyenne Akers, from Chapmanville, West Virginia, will also be attending Marshall in the fall.

The basics of the camp format and program, along with a short video history of the camp and welcome messages from Senators Manchin and Capito, are available at

NYSF Executive Director Dr. Andrew Blackwood said, “While it is disappointing that the delegates to the 2020 NYSCamp won’t immediately be able to visit our beautiful state, I am very pleased that we were able to pivot from our traditional residential program to this very impressive virtual program.”

The delegates also had opportunities to interact and connect with one another and to join in interactive question-and-answer sessions with the presenters.

“Even though they weren’t able to gather in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia,” Kinghorn said, “the 2020 Virtual National Youth Science Camp was an engaging, exciting, and unforgettable experience!”

Photos: (Above) Dr. Brian Kinghorn, director of the National Youth Science Camp (NYSCamp) and assistant professor of curriculum, instruction and foundations at Marshall,  welcomes delegates to the 2020 Virtual NYSCamp during the orientation lecture June 1.  (Middle) Dr. David Trowbridge, associate professor of history at Marshall and creator of the Clio app, and Kinghorn lead a question-and-answer session after Trowbridge’s lecture about the Clio App June 4. (Below) President Gilbert (second from left) attended the NYS Camp in 1973.