HOLMDEL, N.J. –  Hard work in school certainly pays dividends with wonderful life opportunities.

According to a Holmdel Schools press release,  Holmdel High School senior Erica Wu is one of only two students invited to represent New Jersey in the very selective and prestigious National Youth Science Camp.

Held annually in June at Camp Pocahontas, West Virginia, this all-expense paid science education camp for students who have just graduated from high school with the aim of developing thoughtful leaders in science and technology. Delegates must have demonstrated exceptional academic achievement, leadership in school and community activities and a genuine interest in the sciences. The camp only allows two students from each state to participate, as well as a few students from other select countries with support from the United States Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. The selection committee is done by the office of the governor in each state.  

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Erica explained her interest in the program by saying, “the camp offers opportunities in STEM, art, music, and athletic and recreational activities. NYSC has an outdoor adventure program, where we can explore the nature around Camp Pocahontas through backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking, caving, or other similar ventures. They also invite guest scientists from across the nation to update us on their latest groundbreaking research through lectures and hands-on activities. More informal and smaller seminars encompass the personal interests of other delegates and staff, where we learn about new hobbies. I love that the camp offers such a wide variety of opportunities to learn through relaxed, social interactions exploring diverse interests in science and beyond.”

The graduating senior admits that NYSC will be a unique, refreshing experience before heading off to college.  Erica feels the timing of the camp schedule, June 27 through July 21, works perfectly into her summer plans. “I will have already graduated from Holmdel High School and Juilliard pre-college, and my other extracurricular activities will have ended as well. My summer plans so far consist of attending the camp and using the remaining time to travel, either to Taiwan or with my sister on the Trans-Siberian railway.” 

In the meantime, Erica is patiently awaiting word on college acceptance notifications, though she has already received a couple of conformations already, from a couple of schools you may have heard of in your travels, Yale and MIT. She is excited about having to make these important choices.

What Erica is equally excited about is the location of Camp Pocahontas, which is in the eastern mountains of West Virginia's Potomac Highlands and within the unique wilderness areas of the Monongahela National Forest. “I will spend about a month in the woods, away from the 'distractions of the city’,” Erica said, “somewhat like Thoreau.” She continued, by quoting the Transcendentalist, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately”. Erica says the quote stuck with her after reading Walden in her American Literature class, which not only makes her English teacher very proud, but also speaks to the diverse nature of this Renaissance young woman who finds equal value in science, and an appreciation of the arts.

Holmdel High School is certainly proud of Erica and her accomplishments as she continues to inspire and elevate her peers to achieve the type of success she has enjoyed.