Rhode Island Students Selected as State Delegates for Prestigious National Youth Science Camp Program

Published on Tuesday, March 19, 2024

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green and the Rhode Island Department of Education are pleased to announce that Hannah Smith, a student at Warwick’s Pilgrim High School, and Victoria Spradlin, a student at the Wheeler School, have been chosen as the two state delegates to attend the National Youth Science Camp (NYSCamp) in 2024. This prestigious honor recognizes the students’ exceptional achievements in STEM research and status as student leaders in Rhode Island's high school graduating class of 2024. 

"Hannah and Victoria’s selection as state delegates to the National Youth Science Camp underscores both their dedication to academic excellence and Rhode Island’s commitment to STEM innovation,” said Governor Dan McKee. “Their contributions have the power to shape the future of innovation and progress in our state, and I have no doubt that they will continue to inspire others with their passion and talent.” 

Hosted in Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia since 1963, the National Youth Science Camp provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for two delegates from each state to exchange ideas with leading scientists and other professionals from academic, governmental, and corporate worlds. The NYSCamp is a broad science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experience where they participate in a Science Policy panel discussion with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  

"I extend my heartfelt congratulations to Hannah and Victoria for their remarkable achievement as Rhode Island state delegates to the National Youth Science Camp,” said Chair of the Board of Education Michael Grey. “Your selection not only reflects your exceptional dedication to STEM excellence but also highlights the bright future you hold as potential leaders in Rhode Island's scientific community.” 

"Congratulations to Hannah and Victoria on this well-deserved honor,” said Chair of the Council on Elementary and Secondary Education Patti DiCenso. “Your dedication to STEM excellence and leadership within our community exemplify the spirit of innovation and achievement we strive to cultivate in all students. Best wishes for a rewarding experience at the NYSCamp as you embark on this exciting journey!” 

The 2024 NYSCamp will include world-class lectures, directed studies, and seminars with prestigious and up-and-coming STEM professionals who are making a difference in their fields of study and changing the world for good. Delegates will also have the opportunity, if they desire, to propose, plan, and present their own seminar during the camp. 

"Hannah and Victoria’s passion for science sets a shining example for students across Rhode Island, demonstrating the transformative power of curiosity and perseverance,” said Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green. “Their journey to the NYSCamp is not only a reflection of their individual accomplishments but also a source of inspiration for the entire educational community. I commend Victoria and Hannah for their exemplary leadership and wish them continued success as they embark on this exciting opportunity." 

With a love of STEM largely inspired by her father and upbringing on the water in Warwick, Hannah Smith dedicates much of her time to her rigorous academics, extracurriculars, and volunteer work. During the summers leading into her junior and senior years, she conducted hands-on research in theoretical chemistry through a paid fellowship at Brown University. In a letter of recommendation, Manning Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Jerome R. Robinson, Ph.D. described Smith as having stood out amongst her peers through her independence and communications, and “operating like an advanced undergraduate.” Smith plans to pursue a doctorate degree upon completion of her undergraduate studies. 

“Hannah's commitment to excellence and resiliency both inside and outside the classroom sets an inspiring example for her peers,” said Warwick Public Schools Superintendent Lynn Dambruch. “Her involvement in orchestra, athletics, and volunteering reflects her well-rounded character and dedication to serving her community. We are tremendously proud of all that Hannah has accomplished and are confident she will represent Rhode Island with distinction.” 

A top student at the Wheeler School and future undergraduate at Princeton University, Victoria Spradlin has demonstrated strong academic prowess and leadership skills through her rigorous coursework and extracurriculars. She has served as a paid research assistant at Brown University and as a student researcher at the University of North Carolina and University of Hawaii. Through her academic journey, Spradlin has received numerous academic and athletic awards and devoted time to tutoring underserved students. In a letter of recommendation, math teacher Alex Walsh described Spradlin as having "unparalleled” problem-solving and logical reasoning skills. 

"Victoria is a truly remarkable student in every sense - intellectual, curious, humble, and genuinely devoted to her learning," said Walsh. "She is among the very top students I have taught, no matter which axis she is measured on, and I have no doubt that she will excel at any school and in any field she ends up choosing."

National Youth Science Camp is scheduled to take place in late June. More information about the program can be found at www.nysf.com