OSWEGO – An Oswego High School senior has been selected to participate in an elite nationwide science program this summer, joining students from all 50 states for the National Youth Science Camp.
Jenna Ballard of Oswego will attend the month-long camp, held in the eastern mountains of West Virginia's Potomac Highlands, as one of two delegates from New York state selected for their exceptional academic achievement, leadership and interest in the sciences.
"I always really liked science and math and I thought this would be a good opportunity to meet with other people interested in those fields before I go to college," said Jenna, who will attend Johns Hopkins University in the fall to study bio-medical engineering.
The problem solving aspect of applying her studies to real-life medical scenarios was one of the reasons Jenna says she applied to the camp, which is free of charge for enrollment and transportation for selected students.
At the camp, Jenna and other students will participate in hands-on, small-group learning experiences along with hearing a wide-ranging lecture series with internationally renown guest speakers such as astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson and United States Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra.
In addition to science and classroom-oriented courses, attendees also spend significant time in the area surrounding the camp, which includes the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and Monongahela National Forest.
Cultural activities, "ranging from fishing to philosophy to ballroom dancing" are also offered.
Both Jenna and her mother,
Wendy Ballard, said support from Jenna's instructors and advisors at Oswego High School has been instrumental in getting to this point.
"We're very grateful to the teachers [at OHS] for their support," said Mrs. Ballard. "They've gone out of their way — coming in early, leaving late. The school has just been amazing." At the camp, Jenna will have an opportunity to present to her peers and experts the results of an ongoing research project she has been involved with at SUNY Oswego, working with the Department of Chemistry to study the effects of metals on protein binding processes.
"I'm a little nervous, but it'll be good preparation for when I'm at college," Jenna said about the prospect of lecturing at the camp.
In addition to her science and technology studies, Jenna is also a member of the Oswego High School orchestra and recently performed in the pit orchestra for the school's production of the musical "Damn Yankees." She resides in the city of Oswego with her mother and father, Wendy and David Ballard.