For Immediate Release
April 25, 2013

State Board of Education announces promising science students to attend national camp

Two Illinois High School students to serve as delegates to National Youth Science Camp

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education today announced that two Illinois high school seniors have been selected as this year’s most promising young scientists. The two students, from schools in Hoopeston and Normal, will represent the Prairie State during the 2013 national Youth Science Camp this summer in West Virginia.

Michelle Seat from Hoopeston Area High School and Joelle Friesen from University High School in Normal will participate in the 50th year of the National Youth Science Camp, located near the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank, West Virginia.  Alexander Lee, also from University High School in Normal, has been selected as an alternate.

“We’re thrilled that two of our state’s students can be a part of this camp’s 50th season,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “These are two bright students who have each taken full advantage of four years of science and math courses at their schools. This opportunity will give Michelle and Joelle important experiences and insights into future careers.”

Michelle Seat takes challenging courses, including Physics, Anatomy, Pre-Calculus/Trig and Statistics and is involved in Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) as well as sports, academic, arts, church and volunteer activities.

Johanna Thorndyke, Michelle’s Anatomy teacher at Hoopeston Area High School, describes her as a student driven to succeed.

“She truly loves to learn and works hard to achieve her academic goals,’’ Thorndyke said.

Michelle has been accepted into the chemical engineering program at the University of Illinois.

Joelle Friesen is involved in Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE), academic, sports church and community activities.

Thomas Holbrook, Joelle’s AP Chemistry teacher at University High, said his student is also very driven and submits insightful and thorough lab work. Joelle intends to major in Biochemistry and attend medical school after college.

Michelle and Joelle have taken four years of math and science, including AP and advanced level courses at their respective high schools.

Established in 1963 as a part of West Virginia’s Centennial Celebration, the National Youth Science Camp is an annual summer forum where two delegates representing each state exchange ideas with leading scientists and other professionals from academic and corporate worlds.  Lectures and hands-on research projects are presented by scientists from across the United States who work on some of the most provocative topics in science today - topics such as fractal geometry, the human genome project, global climate change, the history of the universe, the fate of our rain forests, and robotics.  Delegates to the NYSC are challenged to explore new areas in the biological and physical sciences, art, and music with resident staff members.  Delegates also present seminars covering their own areas of research and interest.

The National Youth Science Camp’s diverse academic program is complemented by an outdoor recreation program, which leverages the Science Camp’s location in the Monongahela National Forest. The Science Camp’s outdoor program offers backpacking, caving, rock climbing, mountain biking and kayaking.

Michelle and Joelle will fly to Charleston, West Virginia, on Thursday, June 27, and will return home on Saturday, July 20, after participating in this innovative educational program.  The National Youth Science Foundation®, based in Charleston, West Virginia, covers all expenses, including travel.  More information is available online at and



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