Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds announce Iowa’s National Youth Science Camp delegates

March 19, 2012

Governor Terry Branstad announced today that Douglas Andrew Lindner and Monica Monserrat Figueroa have been selected as the two most promising young scientific leaders in Iowa’s 2012 high school graduating class.  At the invitation of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia, they will participate as delegates in the 49th year of the National Youth Science Camp held near the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank, West Virginia. 

Douglas, a senior at Linn-Mar High School in Marion, is the son of Stacie and Robert Lindner.  He attributes his early aspirations to become an engineer to encouragement from his father which was later supported by his experiences in mathematics and science courses.  In high school, Douglas became team leader of his school’s FIRST Robotics Team and mentored FIRST Tech Challenge teams at Linn-Mar and Jefferson high schools.  Of his time as a Government Systems High School Technical Intern Douglas says, “My time working alongside engineers as an Intern at Rockwell Collins has helped me to establish a professional attitude and great work ethic.  It has shown me the value that a career in science has to offer, a profession where the greater goal is working to improve the knowledge and conditions of the world.” 

Monica, a senior at Storm Lake High School in Storm Lake, is the daughter of Maria Luz Vaca Garcia.  Monica’s career goals include becoming an architect and designing eco-friendly homes in underprivileged areas around the world.  Monica serves on Iowa’s Learning Council, an advisory council of 8th-12 grade students from across the state.  Monica’s experience working with other Storm Lake High School Students and Buena Vista University faculty on water quality assessments in the Raccoon River Watershed led to her serving as the keynote speaker at an American Association of University Women funded girls in STEM careers event at BVU.  Dr. Melinda Coogan, Assistant Professor of Biology at BVU says, “I am incredibly impressed with Monica as a young woman and as a leader in our community. She is a considerate and hardworking high school senior, and I have no doubt that she will be successful.”

“Monica and Douglas represent the highest academic standards, a passion for scientific discovery, proven leadership qualities and a desire to make the world a better place.  Their experiences with similar students from across the county and today’s science leaders at the National Youth Science Camp will support their further growth as science leaders,” states Marcy Seavey, Program Director at the Iowa Academy of Science and chair of Iowa’s NYSC selection committee.

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.

Mr. Lindner and Ms. Figueroa will be flown to Charleston, West Virginia, on Wednesday, June 27, and will return home on Saturday, July 21, 2012, 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

Mr. Lindner and Ms. Figueroa will also be honored at the 124th Annual Meeting of the Iowa Academy of Science on April 20th, 2012.  They will be recognized as Iowa’s 2012 National Youth Science Camp delegates and stand up with other Iowa science leaders during the Iowa Junior Academy of Science Award Luncheon.