Important Links

National Center for Youth Science Education

In the 1980s, the National Youth Science Foundation (NYSF) committed to a bold plan to construct a National Center for Youth Science Education (NCYSE). The NCYSE will allow the NYSF to expand and improve its programs and become a focal point that encourages and inspires youth to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

In 2009, after a decade-long search, the NYSF purchased 111 acres alongside the Blackwater River near Davis from the Canaan Valley Institute (CVI) to serve as the future home of the NCYSE. This purchase agreement included assurances from CVI that the NYSF would have first-right of use of CVI facilities in the event that they became available and required important action by the NYSF set forth below. This agreement was a key facet in planning the future facility.

In 2010 the NYSF published its NCYSE Master Plan that called for the construction of critical spaces in support of the NYSF’s flagship program, the National Youth Science Camp (NYSC) and other, new STEM-focused programs. See to review this master plan.

Entry to the NCYSE

Entry to the National Center for Youth Science Education

Disposition of the CVI Facilities

In 2009, with funding from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), CVI completed construction of two buildings: the Research and Education Center and the Research Support Building.

Recently, CVI advised NOAA that financial pressure and limited business options required CVI to be relieved of its responsibilities in operating and maintaining these buildings and property. Based on the standing agreement with CVI, the NYSF immediately petitioned NOAA requesting that the NYSF be selected as the steward of this important education facility so that the NYSF could advance its plans to develop STEM education programs as a critical step towards the National Center for Youth Science Education.

While NOAA acknowledged in 2009 the NYSF’s right to use by virtue of its agreement with CVI, NOAA has provided the United States Fish and Wildlife Service the first opportunity to the CVI facilities.

Canaan Valley Institute

Canaan Valley Institute

STEM Education Center

Consistent with the NYSF’s long-term objective to develop the NCYSE on  its property adjacent to CVI, the NYSF would transform CVI’s research and education facilities into the STEM Education Center. Located within a ten-minute walk from the NYSF’s planned NCYSE, the STEM Education Center would accelerate the NYSF’s move to Tucker County and permit the NYSF to operate STEM education programs there as soon as 2016.

Programs and Plans

According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), science and mathematics education achievement in West Virginia continues to lag far behind that of the nation as a whole. In grade 8, students in West Virginia scored lower than those in 44 states in mathematics and lower than 29 states in science.

According to Change the Equation (CTEq), a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving teaching and learning in STEM, West Virginia must raise the acceptable achievement standards in mathematics and science, improve teacher preparation and support, and expand participation in rigorous courses in mathematics and science. Through its flagship National Youth Science Camp program and other innovative STEM experiences, the STEM Education Center would serve thousands of students each year.

The NYSF has extensive experience in operating STEM education programs in West Virginia, including:

Over its more than 50-year history, approximately 6,000 students have participated in NYSF programs, including:

  • Marissa Mayer (Wisconsin 1993) – President and CEO of Yahoo!
  • Wes Bush (West Virginia 1979) – CEO and President Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • David Thompson (South Carolina 1972) – Chairman, President, and CEO of Orbital Sciences
Students at the National Youth Science Camp in 2012

Students at the National Youth Science Camp in 2012

The NYSF expects to develop financial support through public and private initiatives to complete the necessary improvements at CVI and the NCYSE. The NYSF expects that the STEM Education Center would be recognized as a Regional Network Hub in the West Virginia STEM Network as proposed by the Governor’s STEM Council and endorsed by West Virginia’s State Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Martirano.

According to the Governor’s STEM Council Report, “The goal of a HUB is to amplify and accelerate the impact of existing STEM programs within a particular region. It is designed to support STEM programs and schools, increase the ability of existing STEM assets to generate regional impact, grow linkages between and support of existing STEM assets in a region, identify gaps in the system, and connect other STEM initiatives to that region’s STEM efforts.”

Youth Science Discovery Experience

Initiated in 2010 with financial support from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Youth Science Discovery Experience (YSDE) is a STEM project based learning (PBL) program. Proven to enrich and complement traditional education, the YSDE bridges the gap between the classroom and the professional laboratory. the YSDE teams small groups of students with STEM professionals in an engaging and creative environment where students are free to explore and learn with expert guidance.

YSDE Students work at the Canaan Valley Institute

YSDE Students work at the Canaan Valley Institute

While in residence at the STEM Education Center, YSDE students would conduct research in STEM fields guided by mentoring professionals.  Research topics vary and have recently included biology, clean-coal technology, energy management, engineering, forestry, hydrology, and physiology.

At the conclusion of each ten-day session of the YSDE, research teams present their findings to peers, faculty, staff, and guests in an academic colloquium that reinforces the need for ongoing research and exploration. Teams keep online research logs and present their results in posters on the YSDE website. The primary research focus of the YSDE is complemented with guest lectures, whole-group problem-solving activities, and informal seminars. The YSDE also leverages local scenic areas for outdoor adventure activities,  including mountain biking, snowshoeing, hiking, and camping.

YSDE Students participate in a seminar on rockets.

YSDE Students participate in a seminar on rockets.

With full access to the CVI facilities, the NYSF would expand the YSDE to serve 21 cohorts of 40 students each allowing 840 West Virginia students annually to participate in this exciting STEM education program. Operating a program of this magnitude requires public support and funding. In 2014, the State Superintendent of Schools, included a request to support the YSDE in the West Virginia Department of Education’s budget proposal. While it was not funded, there is recognition that the YSDE can provide valuable assistance to the State of West Virginia as they work to meet important and national standards in science and mathematics education.

Economic Impact

The NYSF envisions two stages of development in Tucker County.

Stage One Milestones (completed by 2016)

CVI facilities would be transformed into the STEM Education Center and enhanced to annually support the National Youth Science Camp, one or two other summer programs, and additional activities throughout the year.

  • Securing sufficient funds (approximately $2,000,000) to complete renovations and and construction.
  • Construction of robust, temporary, seasonal housing (capacity 200).
  • Renovating or constructing sufficient sanitary services.
  • Enhancing food service capability to provide 200 meals, 3 times per day.
  • Reconfiguring CVI office space to provide education space during the summer and indoor housing for as many as 40 students during the winter.
  • Designating the STEM Education Center as a Hub in the West Virginia STEM Network as proposed by the Governor’s STEM Council.

Impact of Stage One

  • Annually serve approximately 1,000 students.
  • Create 40 seasonal jobs.
  • Create 10 to 20 year-round jobs ranging from the service sector (food service, maintenance, etc.) to professional. Some of these positions would be filled by current Tucker County residents.

Stage Two Milestones (2016 – 2020)

Remaining facilities would be constructed.

  • Securing sufficient funds (approximately $30,000,000) to complete NCYSE improvements and construction of facilities.
  • Extending utilities to the NYSF property on the south side of the Blackwater River.
  • Construction of permanent, four season facilities including the dining hall; student, staff, and guest housing; and other improvements identified in the NCYSE Master Plan (

Impact of Stage Two

  • Annually serve as many as 3,500 students.
  • Sustain 40 seasonal jobs and create 10 to 20 new year-round jobs.


NYSF facilities and programs will have a lasting and expanding positive economic impact on the Tucker County community. The NYSF has operated sessions of the Youth Science Discovery Experience at the Canaan Valley Institute. As the NYSF’s presence grows, so will the economic impact – both through employment opportunities and services.

Potential Adverse Consequences

If the NYSF is not allowed full access to the CVI facilities:

  • Development of the NCYSE will be significantly delayed and potentially jeopardized.
  • It will be necessary to fully fund, develop, and construct the NCYSE before moving NYSF programs to Tucker County.
  • Concerns remain over potential access to utility extensions (currently available on CVI property) as well as access to NYSF property via CVI roads that connect to WV Route 93 (Corridor H).

Important Contact Information

Tucker County Commission
211 First Street, Suite 307, Parsons, WV 26287
(304) 478-2866 ext. 207; Fax (304) 478-2446
E-mail: Joel Goughnour,

Dr. Kathyrn D. Sullivan
Administrator, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration
Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW, Room 5128, Washington, DC 20230
Twitter: @NOAA

Mr. Edward C. Horton
Chief Administrative Officer
National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration
1305 East West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Secretary Sally Jewell
United States Department of the Interior
1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240
Twitter: @SecretaryJewell

Honorable Jay Rockefeller
United States Senate
531 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-6472; Fax (202) 224-7665

Honorable Joe Manchin III
United States Senate
306 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
(202) 224-3954; Fax (202) 228-0002

Honorable Shelly Moore Capito
United States House of Representatives
2366 Rayburn H.O.B., Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-2711; Fax (202) 225-7856

Honorable David McKinley
United States House of Representatives
412 Cannon H.O.B., Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-4172; Fax (202) 225-7564

Honorable Earl Ray Tomblin
Office of the Governor of West Virginia
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, WV 25305
(304) 558-2000 or (888) 438-2731

Dr. Michael J. Martirano
State Superintendent of Schools
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, WV 25305
(304) 558-2681
Twitter: @mjmsuper

Ronald G. Pearson
Chairman, Board of Trustees
National Youth Science Foundation
P.O. Box 1065, Charleston, WV 25324

Dr. Andrew N. Blackwood
Executive Director, National Youth Science Foundation
P.O. Box 3387, Charleston, WV 25333-3387
(304) 205-9724

When: 6 PM – 8 PM, Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Where: Davis Volunteer Fire Department, 610 William Avenue, Davis, WV

Purpose: To allow public comment on proposals by the National Youth Science Foundation and the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge to the potential transfer of the Canaan Valley Institute property (2 buildings and 37 acres).

Moderator: Mont Miller


6:00 PM - Introductions
6:05 Background on Canaan Valley Institute
Jenny Newland, Executive Director
6:15 Proposal by CV NWR
Ron Hollis, Refuge Manager
6:35 Proposal by National Youth Science Foundation
Ron Pearson, Chairman
6:55 Audience Q&A Session (Line forms at podium)
1 Question and 1 Follow-up allowed (5 minute limit per person)
7:40 Comments
7:50 Summary
Collection of Written Comments

No cell phone use during the meeting. Phones must be turned off or on vibrate. Those asking questions are asked to stay on point. Time is limited.

Reference Material:

November 25, 2014 – National Youth Science Foundation today announced that John Giroir has been selected as the Foundation’s next Director of the National Youth Science Camp. Giroir, previously served as the President and CEO of the YMCA of Kanawha Valley.Giroir, John

The National Youth Science Camp (NYSC), a four-week program held each summer, was first held in 1963 in celebration of West Virginia’s Centennial. Hosting two students from each state, NYSC is a unique mix of cutting edge science and activities in the great West Virginia outdoors. Planned originally to be a one-time event, NYSC has continued over the years; in 2013, NYSC celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. Located near the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, WV, NYSC is a unique place to learn about the beauty of the sciences and the beauty of the West Virginia outdoors.

The NYSC has had many recognizable names over the years involved in the program, including John F. Nash, Jr., Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences (1994) and was featured in the movie, “A Beautiful Mind” (2001). Many more names are not so recognizable, but have had national and worldwide impact from their work in the sciences, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The students who participate in this program are some of the best and brightest in the United States. Giroir was one of those students in 1989.

“John is a highly intelligent, talented, and experienced professional who will lead the National Youth Science Camp with a sense of history and a vision for the future. John was a Louisiana delegate to NYSC in 1989 and has served on NYSC staff and the NYSF before joining the YMCA of Kanawha Valley in 2000,” said NYSF Executive Director, Dr. Andrew Blackwood. “It is hard to describe the NYSC experience to people who haven’t been there. Can you imagine a place in the West Virginia hills that had Neil Armstrong describing how he would journey to the Moon, years before he did it?”

Giroir succeeds Desiree Henriksen, who served as the NYSC Director from 2012 to 2014. Giroir is the twelfth NYSC Director since it began in 1963.

“Having directed the National Youth Science Camp for ten years, I know what it takes to make a great program,” Blackwood said. “The NYSC is fortunate to have John accept this national leadership role. We are happy to have him join our team.”

“I am humbled at this unique opportunity to further the Mission of the National Youth Science Foundation,” said Giroir. “This is a homecoming for me and I am honored to serve in a role that I’ve held in such high esteem, having been a delegate from Louisiana in 1989 and working on NYSC staff many Summers. The NYSC is the reason I moved here over 20 years ago and why I have such a deep love for West Virginia.”

Media Coverage

October 3, 2014

Announcement: The National Youth Science Foundation seeks candidates for the position of Director, National Youth Science Camp. A full position description is provided below. This position is full-time, year-round and based at the NYSF offices at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston, West Virginia; additional 24/7 activities at the site of the National Youth Science Camp while the program is in session.

See for more information.

A very generous National Youth Science Camp alumnus has offered to match, dollar for dollar, all contributions received between August 8, 2014, and September 15, 2014 (up to $50,000)! Donations made by alumni count toward the $50 for 50 Campaign. Now is the time to make your contribution go twice as far! Click below to donate.

The National Youth Science Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization (Federal Tax ID Number 55-0630700). Contributions made to the Foundation are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

If you would prefer to offer your support by check, please mail it to:

National Youth Science Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 3387
Charleston, WV 25333-3387

Bill ConnerThis year’s sponsor of the Senate Luncheon is William (Bill) F. Conner (NYSC – Arkansas in 1977). Bill is the former CEO of Entrust-a security software company that he ran for 13 years until last December when he sold the company for $500M. He is now consulting. Bill’s career spans more than 30 years across numerous high-tech industries. He is among the most experienced security, data and infrastructure executives worldwide. He led key divisions at ATT, he led Nortel into data with an $9B acquisition of Bay Networks, and has led the effort to protect digital identities around the world in over 60+ countries while the CEO of Entrust. He has been at the vanguard of three Digital Information Age’s most transformational digital technology shifts. Bill has been recognized with the Federal 100 Award-which the government bestows to the top 100 individuals and organizations impacting the U.S. Government, and he has also be recognized with the Corporate CEO of the Year as well as the Marketer of the Year. He received the NYSC Alumnus of the Year from the NYSF in 2013. Senator Rockefeller noted that Conner is one of the 100 most important advisors to the United States Senate

As part of Bill’s efforts to secure national critical infrastructure, he launched and co-chaired the Business Software Alliance Information Security Governance task force which released an information security management framework for industry. He also co-chaired the Corporate Governance Task Force of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security National Cyber Security Partnership, which released a report-“information security governance: a call to action.” He has shared his expertise on Capitol Hill by testifying before Congressional hearings on topics of critical infrastructure protection, security for small and medium businesses, and national security.

Students from around West Virginia convened at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory for five days of original research with scientists from NRAO, Concord University, and The Mountain Institute.  In addition to beginning their research projects, they attended a talk on nanotechnology by Dr. Mike Norton of Marshall University and explored the nature of scientific inquiry through jigsaw puzzles (photo below).

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Dr. Norton (below) talked about his lab’s work in self-assembling structures at atomic and molecular scales and potential applications.  He presented a series of problems and questions yet to be solved in chemistry and nanotechnology and challenged YSDE students to pursue those questions.

3-8 9

Over the next five days, six YSDE teams will pursue research on electromagnetic radiation, geophysics, engineering, and radio astronomy.  Teams will be posting updates of their research activities and progress–watch for updates at

Former MIT president Charles M. Vest — a tireless advocate for research and science, and a passionate supporter of diversity and openness — died on December 12 of pancreatic cancer at his home in the Washington area. He was 72. Dr. Vest was the NYSC Martha Wehrle Opening Lecturer in 2011.

Read the article in the MIT  News.

CHARLESTON, WV – Alumni (delegates and staph) of the National Youth Science Camp can be found across the United States and around the World. Explore using the interactive map below.


  • The interactive map above is a visual representation of the alumni (delegates and staph) of the National Youth Science Camp.
  • If your information is incorrect, please visit the NYSC Alumni Directory and provide an update.
  • Multiple alumni in the same Zip code may not be visible. Use the filters at Google Fusion Tables to explore.
  • If you wish to have your listing removed, please request by E-mail to
Strategic Planning Session

Strategic Planning Session

CHARLESTON, WV — The National Youth Science Foundation is currently developing a strategic plan to guide its activities in the next decade. Facilitated by Dr. Jim Shuman, a former National Youth Science Camp director, stakeholders have advanced the construction of the strategic plan.

In recent action, the Board of Trustees formally adopted the following:

Mission Statement

The mission of the National Youth Science Foundation is to inspire lifelong engagement and ethical leadership in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through its proven educational model for mentoring, challenging, and motivating students.

By building communities among students, teachers, and professionals, NYSF programs bridge the gap between the traditional school curriculum and STEM careers.

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