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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #23-51
June 27, 2023
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces 2023 National Youth Science Camp Delegates

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond named three outstanding students as California’s delegates for the National Youth Science Camp (NYSCamp).

Elyse Hsin-Lien Hwang of La Cañada High School in La Cañada (Los Angeles County), Samuel Wu of Dublin High School in Dublin (Alameda County), and Sophie Andersen of Dana Hills High School in Dana Point (Orange County) were selected for their high achievement and proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

“In an ever-changing, increasingly complex world, our students must possess the knowledge, skills, and ability to think critically, collaborate, and gather and evaluate evidence to make sound decisions,” said Superintendent Thurmond. “I am amazed at what these outstanding students have already accomplished in their young lives. I know they will continue to represent California well and make a notable difference in the world of science and in the lives of others.”

The NYSCamp is an annual event hosted by the National Youth Science Academy External link opens in new window or tab. (formerly known as the National Youth Science Foundation) to bring together top students from nine Western Hemisphere countries to attend lectures and participate in outdoor activities centered on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math disciplines. For the first time in the camp’s history, the 2023 NYSCamp is being hosted as a hybrid experience: a five-day virtual camp followed by several weeks at Camp Pocahontas in Bartow, West Virginia, from June 24–July 10, 2023, which marks the return to an in-person experience after three years—in time to celebrate the camp’s sixtieth anniversary. The camp will culminate in a two-day trip to Washington, DC.

Elyse Hsin-Lien Hwang (La Cañada, Los Angeles County)

Elyse is a determined and caring student who has worked in many different STEM disciplines throughout her years in high school. She has been a member of the Science Olympiad and Science National Honors Society since 2020, which led to her earning several awards for her biology projects on the topics of heredity, protein modeling, and bioinformatics. Following these awards, Elyse went on to compete for the USA Biology Olympiad Award, where she was named a semifinalist.

In addition to her passion for biology and genetics, Elyse also cares deeply for equity in science and science education. Upon realizing the impact of early STEM education on her own academic success, Elyse became the Director and Founder of Science Discovery Lab, an afterschool program that organizes science enrichment trips and activities for local elementary schoolers.

Elyse plans to major in biology at Stanford University this fall and would like to pursue medicine and biomedical research as a physician-scientist. She is especially interested in further exploring genetics and oncology.

Samuel Wu (Dublin, Alameda County)

Samuel is a dedicated student who is passionate about STEM and neuroscience. He has been participating in various neuroscience-focused research projects throughout high school and has become one of three students to earn the Neuroscience Research Prize from the American Association of Neurology.

Additionally, Samuel invests time in volunteer work as Co-President of the Global Leadership Initiatives for Youth, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that encourages service in both local and global communities. He also serves as the Co-President and Founder of the Friends of Children with Special Needs Club and advocates for investment in the field of neurodivergence.

Samuel plans to continue his study of neuroscience as a Human Biology major (premedical path) at Stanford University and become a physician-scientist.

Sophie Andersen (Dana Point, Orange County)

Sophie is a compassionate and ambitious student who has developed an interest in STEM through the study of biotechnology. As someone with a personal connection to the benefits of biotechnology, Sophia hopes to continue her studies in STEM by creating affordable biotechnological innovations for use in the medical and research fields.

Sophie has been a member of the American Association of University Women’s Tech Trek throughout high school and attended American Legion Auxiliary Girls State, a weeklong mock government camp in Sacramento. Both helped further her passion for STEM and equity for women in science and gave her a better understanding of the economics and ethics behind many of the different STEM fields.

Sophie will attend the Georgia Institute of Technology as a Biomedical Engineering major with a minor in Public Policy. Her future goals include pursuing a master’s degree and PhD in Bioengineering and creating affordable biotechnological innovations that improve people’s well-being across the globe.

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Tony Thurmond — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, June 27, 2023
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