Like many high school graduates, Boston Swan is full of energy and excited for what happens next. The former InTech Collegiate High School student recently returned from the <a href=”http://2014.nysc.org/” target=”_blank”>prestigious National Youth Science Camp</a> with a new perspective on science, research and potential career paths.
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>”There are so many more possibilities with science and engineering that you can go into. It really taught me that the possibilities are endless and I can really do whatever I want,” says Swan. “I’m not quite sure exactly what that is yet but I’ve got time.”
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>Swan isn’t the first from Cache Valley to attend the 51 year old camp, but she is the first from InTech Collegiate High School. Her experience began on June 27 and ended on July 20 at Camp Pocahontas near Bartow, West Virgina. The camp introduced a new level of scientific curiosity to Swan, but she still has a proclivity for plant research and will be learning more about it at Utah State University this fall.
Two delegates from each state attend the three week camp, sponsored by the National Youth Science Foundation. Each state has its own way of selecting students to attend. For Utah, Governor Herbert uses a selection committee to review applicants and ultimately decide who will represent the state.
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>”When I applied for camp it was on a whim,” Swan says. “When I got my acceptance letter it was the most amazing moment. ‘They want me to go to camp? They want me to represent Utah?’
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>”It’s humbling. It’s exciting and fantastic. I really can’t describe the feeling.”
Besides meeting with bright students from all around the country, Swan got to interact with students from other countries like Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago and others.
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>”They don’t call it the International Youth Science Camp yet, but maybe one day soon. It was a blast,” says Swan. “We had 101 delegates.”
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>The teenagers in attendance participated in science activities and heard guest lectures from professionals in a multitude of scientific fields, including physicists, biologists and others. Near the end of their camp they spent a few days in Washington, DC and met with each state’s Senate delegation, except that Utah’s U.S. Senators didn’t attend.
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>Swan says they got to do regular camp activities as well, like hiking, rock climbing, camping, and even building duct tape wallets, mostly to get the students to relax and enjoy the moment.
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>”A lot of what happens at camp has to stay at camp because they were big about living in the moment,” she says with a big grin. “They want to teach us on focusing on what is important. For me, and a lot of us, we’ve been planning our high school careers and our college careers and we’re looking at what we want to do five years from now. They were trying to teach us that living in the moment and having fun is what is really important.”
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>Participating in the camp not only allowed Swan to open her eyes to the expanding world of scientific careers, but it also gave her an opportunity to network with some of the brightest young minds in the Western Hemisphere.
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>”These kids are going to be running companies and doing research for the next…forever,” Swan says with a smile. “So it’s really great to meet them now and have those people help you out later on in life.”
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>Besides the opportunities for valuable networking, Swan says many of the camp members hit it off and became immediate friends.
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>”You make these connections from across countries,” Swan continues. “You just never thought you’d find someone who likes the same things as you, and then you do. I don’t remember who said it, but somebody said ‘Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, What? You too? I thought I was the only one!’
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>”That is absolutely true about science camp. You go in thinking everyone is 10 times smarter than me, everyone’s going to be genius and I’m going to be super dumb. Then you go and find out that everyone is as scared as you. Some of them are way smarter than me, but they are also really great.”
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”><a href=”http://2014.nysc.org/delegates/boston-swan/” target=”_blank”>Swan, a resident of Mendon</a>, encourages other local high school students to apply in the future for what she calls a “life-changing” experience.
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>”I would say, really just believe in yourself and put yourself out there. You don’t know what you can do until you do it.”
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>By doing just that, Swan has been given a renewed sense of confidence.
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>”Going to camp really opened the door to possibilities. I think I could go into politics or policy and help with that. I could work in space or do whatever I wanted to do. It’s amazing.”