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Iowa’s National Youth Science Camp delegation announced

DES MOINES – Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced today that Ayenna Cagaanan and Amy Huynh have been selected as two of the most promising young scientific leaders in Iowa’s 2014 high school graduating class. At the invitation of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin of West Virginia, they will participate as delegates to the 2014 National Youth Science Camp held at Camp Pocahontas near Bartow in the eastern mountains of West Virginia’s Potomac Highlands, and close to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank and within the unique wilderness areas of the Monongahela National Forest.

Amy Gia Han Huynh, of Ankeny, is a leader in academics and extracurricular activities. Academically Amy is on the honor roll, has received academic letters, participated in Science Bowl and Moody’s Mega Math Challenge. She is co-president of the student council and participated in the Greater Des Moines Chapter of National Council of Youth Leadership, being recognized as a youth leader in central Iowa. Amy participated in Iowa State University’s microbiology workshop, attended Iowa Lakeside Laboratory gaining experience in the field and the laboratory. In 2009 she represented Iowa and the United States as a People to People student ambassador in Greece, Italy and France. She is a member of the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Society. She served as a member and captain of the cheerleading team at Ankeny High School. Amy says, “Science and innovation propel technological advances that help us live more comfortably…The untapped wealth of knowledge in the science field awaits discovery by eager scientists among the youth of today.”

Ayenna Pimentel Cagaanan, of Fort Dodge, is an enthusiastic learner in her core academic classes, elective music courses, and extra-curricular activities. She is a school leader, member of the Dodger Senate and is the Senior Class President. She has served as Officer, Secretary, and President in Junior Civitan, a member of the debate team, and speech contestant. Ayenna competes on Junior Engineering Technical Society teams and is the 12th grade Science Quiz Bowl Team Captain. She is also a musician serving as Drum Major in 12th grade and a member of Marching Band since 10th grade. She has participated in Wind Ensemble (clarinet and piano), and Jass Band and a National Council on Youth Leadership finalist. Ayenna says, “I want to bring back my National Youth Science Camp experiences to Fort Dodge to encourage other teenagers to participate in STEM activities.”

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.

Ayenna and Amy will travel to Charleston, West Virginia, on June 27, 2014, and will return on Sunday, July 20, 2014, after participating in this innovative educational program. The National Youth Science Foundation®, based in Charleston, West Virginia, covers all expenses, including travel. More information about National Youth Science Camp is available online at and

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