Special to HNN Provided by Marshall University
Marshall University president to give lecture Friday at National Youth Science Camp

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall University President Jerome A. Gilbert has been invited to speak later this week to aspiring young scientists at the annual National Youth Science Camp in Pocahontas County.

He will give a talk titled “Biomedical Engineering:  Are We Redefining What It Means to Be Human?” on Friday, July 6.

As a high school senior in 1973, Gilbert first visited West Virginia as one of two delegates to the camp from Mississippi. He says he fell in love with the state and its people during the weeks he spent at the camp, which is located in the Monongahela Forest near Green Bank.

“I tell people that destiny bent my path back to West Virginia. I always thought I would return,” he added. “The National Youth Science Camp brought me the first time to the Mountain State and Marshall University gave me the opportunity to return.

“Since 1973, part of my heart has always been in West Virginia. We had the opportunity to meet two of the state's leaders, U.S. Senators Robert C. Byrd and Jennings Randolph, which was a real thrill. They both took great interest in affirming the value of the camp delegates and expressed West Virginia's pride in hosting us. I credit them for making all of us feel like we were a part of West Virginia. All of the delegates in 1973 left with an affection for this state, its national leaders, and its people."

Gilbert says the camp helped spark his interest in science and research. After high school, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biological engineering from Mississippi State University and a doctorate in biomedical engineering from Duke University, and then to pursue a career in research and higher education.

The camp has even become a family tradition. In 2002, Gilbert’s son, Peter, was selected to represent Mississippi as a delegate to the camp.

This year, 107 recent high school graduates from every state and around world are participating in the 55thNational Youth Science Camp June 27-July 21. Program participants are challenged academically in lectures and hands-on studies, and have opportunities to participate in an outdoor adventure program.

Delegates to the camp go through a highly competitive selection process. The program and travel are provided to them at no cost, removing financial barriers to attendance. The nonprofit National Youth Science Foundation conducts the program and fundraises for the camp, which began in 1963 as an initiative of West Virginia’s Centennial Celebration.

Gilbert joined Marshall as its 37th president in January 2016.

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Cutline Marshall University President Jerome A. Gilbert first visited West Virginia in 1973 as a delegate to the National Youth Science Camp in Pocahontas County. He is shown here, second from left with arms crossed, during the 1973 camp, on a visit to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank.