RIPLEY - Four local students represented Brooke and Hancock counties at the West Virginia Youth Science Camp this summer.
The two-week residential science honors program offers participants an opportunity to learn more about science while also participating in art, music and traditional summer camp recreational activities at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center.
Kayla Bryant of Follansbee, Jackie Carbasho of Wellsburg and Ian Smith, all students at Brooke High School; and Jakob Hartley of Weir High School were among 77 ninth- and 10th-graders selected to participate after exhibiting leadership abilities, superior academic proficiency in science and math and a willingness to explore various topics.
Visiting scientists presented lectures and hands-on directed studies to introduce participants to a variety of scientific career options.
Topics included heat shielding for space safety, gene expression, interpersonal neurobiology, failures in engineering systems, model rocketry, digital forensics, and the physics and technology of artificial lighting.
"I see my camp experience affecting my life after camp because it really proved to me that the saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover," is true," said Carbasho. "The directed studies have made me think more about my career choice. I am now leaning towards my second choice, director of diagnostics, and not my initial plan of being a lawyer."
Participants also could participate in an outdoor adventure program of mountain biking and hiking and afternoon seminars covering such diverse areas as ballroom dancing, Spanish, fly-tying and engineering design.
The camp was made possible through a partnership between the West Virginia Department of Education and the National Youth Science Foundation. The National Youth Science Foundation, a nonprofit organization, conducts comprehensive informal science education programs to sustain and encourage youth interest and excellence in science.
"(The camp) challenged me mentally because in directed studies they gave you problems that you had to solve but you had never been presented with before," said Bryant. "(The camp) also challenged me physically because I'm not used to taking hikes to see the stars but it was a super awesome experience."
Smith said he enjoyed the hands-on aspect of the camp, and Hartley said the experience showed him there is science in many aspects of everyday life and to "think outside the box."