July 14, 2022
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces 2022 National Youth Science Camp Delegates
SACRAMENTO—California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond named four outstanding students as California’s delegates at the 2022 National Youth Science Camp (NYSCamp).
Rhea Jethvani of Oxford Academy in Cypress (Orange County), Maggie Yao of Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego (San Diego County), Aadity Sharma of Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon (Contra Costa County), and Meghana Balabhadruni of California High School in San Ramon (Contra Costa County) were selected for their high achievement and proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
“STEM education—or STEAM education, which aligns the arts with STEM learning—is an incredibly important priority of mine. Not only is a STEAM education a great equalizer for our students with career opportunities—especially for our disadvantaged students and students of color—it’s the foundation for our future thought leaders in science, the individuals we need as our society grapples with climate change,” Superintendent Thurmond said. “In an ever-changing, increasingly complex world, it’s more important than ever that our students are prepared to bring knowledge and skills to solve problems, make sense of information, and know how to gather and evaluate evidence to make decisions. These are the kinds of skills that students develop in science, technology, engineering, and math, including computer science.”
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s NYSCamp was again hosted as a virtual experience where delegates had the opportunity to attend hundreds of individual sessions, including lectures, seminars, directed studies, and special events. The California nominees joined students from all across the country in gaining knowledge and experience in the STEM field. About 120 top science students from across the United States and 12 Western Hemisphere nations represented the 60th class of delegates. Typically, the NYSCamp is held in the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia.
The National Youth Science Camp is made possible through the planning and fundraising of the National Youth Science Foundation , a 501(c)(3) organization, with the mission to honor, foster, and encourage youth interest and excellence in science professions through mentoring, challenging, and motivating students.
Rhea Jethvani (Cypress, Orange County)
Rhea is an exceptional student who pushes herself beyond just what happens in the classroom. She is an enterprising, hard-working, and extremely compassionate young woman who truly values the idea of being well-rounded.
Rhea was president of two clubs on campus, OA Code and OA CyberSecurity. This past summer, she took on three internships, two fellowships, and intense partnerships with the Society of Women Engineers, the National Center for Women and Information Technology, and Girl Security. Rhea has achieved college and industry certificates in cybersecurity and computer networking.
Rhea will be attending the University of California, Irvine, as a Computer Science and Engineering major in the fall. Her current career goal is to combine her interests in AI and cybersecurity to build a development–security–operations engineering start-up company that pioneers in automated cyber defense strategies for hardware and software systems by utilizing anomaly-based machine learning detection.
Maggie Yao (San Diego, San Diego County)
Maggie’s never-ending desire to continuously explore has led her to spend her summers at the Stanford University Mathematics Camp and the ROSS Mathematics Program. She was president of her school’s Math and Physics teams and was active in her community, teaching STEM at the All Girls STEM Society. Other activities include serving as an intern at Asian Feed, a researcher at Boston University, a consultant for Scientella, and a production head for the Young Scientists Journal.
Although Maggie’s main passion is for mathematics and physics, her curiosity expands much further into philosophy, biology, and engineering. She hopes to obtain her PhD in a STEM field. She will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the fall and is currently thinking about becoming a product designer and professor.
Aadity Sharma (San Ramon, Contra Costa County)
Aadity is a resilient and positive individual who has tirelessly committed herself to her education while helping to support her family. She has interned for a grassroots-level nonprofit in India, collecting and analyzing data to bring further awareness about the Bihar floods that affect over 100 million people a year.
Aadity is tremendously involved in her school and community. She is a member of the San Ramon Teen Council, selected by the city to represent and enact reforms on issues surrounding youth. She co-founded a nonprofit, One Step at a Time, which provides free tutoring to middle and elementary school students online. Aadity is also the co-founder and web director of Bay Impact Design, an organization that provides creative, new solutions to real-world problems. The recipient of numerous science awards, Aadity will be attending UC Santa Cruz.
Meghana Balabhadruni (San Ramon, Contra Costa County)
Meghana was a dedicated member of her school’s biomedical pathway, of which she completed the third and final course. She was awarded first place in a HOSA–Future Health Professionals competition on the topic of public service announcement and attended two summer research programs to gain even more insight into health care.
In further pursuit of her interest in medical science, Meghana worked as a research intern for an organization called Integrated Personal Medicine. Her focus is on combating diseases from their root causes. She is the president of Science Alliance, which helps ignite and nurture the spark of STEM in fifth graders through mentoring by high school students. She will be attending the University of California, Davis, majoring in Molecular and Medical Microbiology. Her career goal is to become a physician and contribute to nutrigenomics research, advancing the disease prevention field.
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100