California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond included one Orange County scholar as he named four outstanding students as California’s delegates at the 2022 National Youth Science Camp.
Rhea Jethvani, a recent graduate of Oxford Academy in the Anaheim Union High School District, was selected along with Maggie Yao from San Diego County and Aadity Sharma and Meghana Balabhadruni from Contra Costa County for demonstrating high achievement and proficiency in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“Not only is a STEAM education a great equalizer for our students with career opportunities — especially for our disadvantaged students and students of color — it’s the foundation for our future thought leaders in science, the individuals we need as our society grapples with climate change,” Superintendent Thurmond said in a statement. “In an ever-changing, increasingly complex world, it’s more important than ever that our students are prepared to bring knowledge and skills to solve problems, make sense of information, and know how to gather and evaluate evidence to make decisions. These are the kinds of skills that students develop in science, technology, engineering and math, including computer science.”
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s National Youth Science Camp, or NYSCamp for short, was hosted again as a virtual experience where delegates had the opportunity to attend hundreds of individual sessions, including lectures, seminars, directed studies and special events.
Rhea, Maggie, Aadity and Meghana joined students from all across the country in gaining knowledge and experience in the STEM field. About 120 top students from the United States and 12 Western Hemisphere nations represented the 60th class of delegates.
Thurmond’s office described Rhea as an exceptional student who pushes herself beyond just what happens in the classroom. Rhea was president of two clubs on campus, OA Code and OA CyberSecurity. (OA is short for Oxford Academy.)
This past summer, she took on three internships, two fellowships and intense partnerships with the Society of Women Engineers, the National Center for Women and Information Technology, and Girl Security. Rhea has achieved college and industry certificates in cybersecurity and computer networking.
She will be attending the University of California, Irvine, as a computer science and engineering major in the fall. Her current career goal is to combine her interests in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
The National Youth Science Camp is made possible through the planning and fundraising of the National Youth Science Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, with the mission to honor, foster and encourage youth interest and excellence in science professions through mentoring, challenging and motivating students.