June 7, 1999
DUVALL--It was Joseph Van Nausdle's "extraordinary" piece of research that caught the eye of David Kennedy, Director of Instructional Design for the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in Olympia.
Kennedy needed to choose two high school seniors from around the state to attend this summer's National Youth Science Camp in West Virginia. "Joseph's research was head and shoulders above the rest of the pack," he said. "Because all the applications are so uniformly outstanding, we have to look for something unique."
He noted that the Cedarcrest senior's academic excellence was also a factor in his selection. Kennedy said he usually receives 15 to 30 applications in a year.
"Every year, we write letters to high school principals in the state inviting them to submit nominations of students," Kennedy said. "Then the student sends us an application and a packet of materials with background information and their qualifications."
Cedarcrest principal Clarence Lavarias said he recommended Van Nausdle because "he is an excellent student. Not only is he academically gifted, he is a good citizen. We are proud to have him as our representative."
Van Nausdle will be attending the camp from July 1 through July 26. Accompanying him will be Erik Lamb of Pullman High School.
Van Nausdle said he did his research through the engineering design class at school. "The program was sponsored by Chrysler," he said. "It was called 'Build Your Dream Vehicle.'"
He said the challenge was to completely design a car, create a marketing plan, research new technology and support decisions. "I'm particularly interested in alternative fuels, especially hydrogen," he said. "I would like to research ways to combine it with another fuel."
He said he has always enjoyed math and science, and also likes to play basketball. Because he has had recent operations on his feet, he chose surgery as his senior project.
Van Nausdle, a National Merit Scholar with a 3.97 GPA, will be attending USC on a full four-year scholarship. He has been accepted into the honors engineering program. Right after graduation, he will be attending orientation at USC, followed by the science camp.
The National Youth Science Camp is an intense month-long camp that not only challenges the students academically, but also features an extensive outdoor program. Van Nausdle said the students will go on an overnight backpacking trip and take a three-day trip to Washington, D.C.