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California Department of Education
News Release
California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #24-36
July 2, 2024
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces 2024 National Youth Science Camp Delegates

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond named two outstanding students as California’s delegates to the 61st annual National Youth Science Camp (NYSCamp).

Arnav Mahendra of Folsom (Sacramento County), a junior at Mira Loma High School in the San Juan Unified School District, and Natalie Brahan of Fremont (Alameda County), a junior at Irvington High School in Fremont Unified, were selected for their high achievement and proficiency in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM).

“I am incredibly proud of these outstanding students who have been selected as California’s delegates to the National Youth Science Camp,” said Thurmond. “They have been grounded in an education that is essential for the future of our state, with areas of study that include environmental literacy and developing future technologies and industry. I am confident they will represent California with excellence and continue to contribute meaningfully to the scientific community and beyond.”

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 STEAM disciplines. The camp includes a two-day trip to Washington, D.C., followed by three weeks of camp in the mountains of West Virginia from June 29 to July 20, 2024.

Arnav Mahendra (Folsom, Sacramento County)

Arnav is a student researcher, public speaker, and aspiring economic researcher with relevant experience in data science and economics. He has worked as a student researcher at Columbia University in New York and was awarded best project for his work on the impact of earnings season on annualized mutual fund returns using language that can be understood by those not in science fields.

Arnav has served as team captain of the Cognition First Tech Challenge robotics team, where he leads and manages the programming, technical writing, and engineering teams. Since May 2023, he has been captain of the Public Forum debate team at Mira Loma High School in competition on topics related to the economy and foreign relations, among other topics. He has also coached students to improve public speaking and argumentative skills, which led to two qualifications in the Tournament of Champions national debate tournament. In addition to the science field, he pursues well-rounded activities within the arts and sports. His end goal is to work for an economic think tank based in Latin America.

Natalie Brahan (Fremont, Alameda County)

Natalie has been captivated by the fascinating relationship between science and nature ever since she attended science camp in sixth grade. Since then, she has developed a deep passion for both STEM and the outdoors through such experiences as the U.S. Naval Academy’s Summer STEM program. Natalie resided at the Naval Academy for six days and immersed herself in the life of a midshipman. What left a lasting impression on her was not the military aspect of the program but the diverse STEM topics that were explored.

Natalie has participated in the Summer Springboard’s U.C. Berkeley Psychology and Neuroscience program, where she was immersed in the science behind the brain and its connections with the rest of the body. She joined an Aspiring Scholars Directed Research Program and worked on an anti-cancer drug discovery project for nine months, which involved long hours and many failed experiments in the laboratory. Natalie is excited to be part of a generation who will be the first to experience some of these new scientific innovations. She is interested in majoring in biochemistry and pursuing a career as a physician.

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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, July 2, 2024
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