Office of the Governor of Iowa

Governor Branstad

Gov. Branstad announces the most promising young scientific leaders in Iowa’s 2011 high school graduating class

Gov. Terry E. Branstad today announced that Rachel Lynn Thies and Nicholas Michael Moellers have been selected as the two most promising young scientific leaders in Iowa’s 2011 high school graduating class.  At the invitation of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia, they will participate as delegates in the 48th year of the National Youth Science Camp held near the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank, West Virginia. Atreya S. Dey has been selected as Iowa’s alternate.

Rachel is a senior ranked 1st of 34 at A-H-S-T High School in Avoca. She is a competitive gymnast and active in vocal music, cheerleading, dance team and soccer.  Rachel is a George Eastman Kodak Science Award winner and plans on pursuing a career in the health sciences.

Nicholas is a senior at North High School in Davenport.  He is a senior class officer, member of the regional Science Bowl team and competitive swimmer. The University of Iowa State Hygienics Lab awarded Nicholas a Student Research grant to investigate pool sterilization and disinfection hazards.  Nicholas hopes to be one of tomorrow’s scientific leaders.

Iowa’s delegates are selected from a pool of worthy applicants by the Iowa Academy of Science and Iowa Department of Education Science Consultant.  The committee gives preference to students with an outstanding academic record, broad extracurricular interested who demonstrate creativity and commitment to community, and the intention to pursue a STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) career.  Current juniors who wish to apply to become one of Iowa’s delegates for 2012 can learn more at and

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.

Rachel and Nicholas will be flown to Charleston, West Virginia, on Thursday, June 30, and will return home on Sunday, July 24, 2011, 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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