Thank You – Alan Zhao (CT 2011)
Hiking through picturesque mountains. Sitting in the mission control center of Orbital Sciences. Listening to inspiring and powerful lectures held by world-renowned experts in their respective scientific fields. Because of your generous donations, I was able to experience these and many other exciting activities.
Camping with 116 other incredibly talented and motivated delegates from around the world with the NYSC was perhaps the most influential moment of my life. In particular, the staph members have worked tirelessly to ensure that our stay at Camp Pocahontas was as enjoyable and interesting as possible, from the underground concert in the cave with Peter Mulvey (to this day I still do not know how they pulled that off) to the picnic on top of a mountain at the Cass Scenic Railroad. Most importantly, however, was that all of the staph really cared for all of us, going as far as to memorize our names before we even arrived at the airport. Never before have I ever seen this level of dedication.
Daily lectures are perhaps the hallmark of the NYSC. Experts in diverse scientific fields come to Camp Pocahontas every day on their own time to share their knowledge with us. For two times every day, I was bombarded by mind boggling, yet intriguing questions that have broadened my view of science and positively influenced the way I observe the world. Is it possible to transmit information back into time? If so, what are the ramifications? How do fractals apply to not only mathematics, but also nature, astronomy, and even us and our friends? Does our current patent system encourage innovation, or does it stymie it?
The most important aspect of Camp Pocahontas, however, is the 116 other delegates from almost every state in America and from around the world. Nowhere else have I met such a diverse group of people, unified by our common interest in the sciences, be it computational complexity theory or nanotechnology. I was able to practice my Spanish with delegates from Latin America and learn about black holes and other fields of science I never ventured into from other delegates who have done research in these fields. Furthermore, the camaraderie among the delegates is unbelievable—we all genuinely care for and trust each other and all of us will keep in touch well after camp. I have personally made more close friends in three and a half weeks of camp than I have in four years of high school. Nowhere else have I ever met a more diverse, open, and friendly group of extremely talented individuals.
Like all good things, NYSC 2011 had ended. However, my memories of NYSC will continue, for NYSC has broadened my horizons and provided me with friendships with people from around the globe that will become valuable connections in the future.
Thank you for your time.