Whittell senior named a delegate for national science camp | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell senior named a delegate for national science camp

Roseann Keegan
Roseann Keegan / Tahoe Daily TribuneWhittell High School senior Sean Sullivan, center, was selected as a Nevada delegate for the National Youth Science Camp in West Virginia June 29 to 23. He is pictured with his science teachers at Whittell High, Phil Sorensen (far left) and Brian Rippet.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Sean Sullivan likes to blow stuff up. A lot.

The 17-year-old’s affinity for fire and all things science earned him a spot in a four-week, all-expenses paid science camp in West Virgina sponsored by the National Youth Science Foundation.

The Whittell High School senior is one of two students selected from Nevada to attend.

“It is a huge achievement,” said Whittell High Principal Sue Shannon.

Sullivan found out about the trip last week after returning from a river rafting trip with his family in the Grand Canyon.

“The first person who called me was Miss Shannon,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan and the other Nevada delegate, Ana Manzano from Coral Academy Charter High School in Reno, will attend the National Youth Science Camp from June 29 to July 23.

The camp will include lectures and hands-on research projects from scientists from across the nation, three overnight camping expeditions in the national forest and a visit to Washington, D.C.

To be eligible, delegates must be graduating seniors, demonstrate high academic achievement in science and wish to pursue a career in science, math, engineering or medicine.

Shannon said the school’s staff immediately thought of Sullivan when the application arrived.

“He loves science and he is a very strong science student,” Shannon said. “Science is his passion.”

He’s good at it too: Sullivan scored a five – the highest score possible – on his advanced placement exams.

He said chemistry is his favorite subject.

“I like fire, chemicals, blowing stuff up,” he said. “I’m not using it for bad stuff. Just for entertainment.”

After completing the high school science curriculum, the school created two additional classes – lab assistant and organic chemistry – in order to keep Sullivan engaged.

“Sean is the kind of student that makes the teacher better because you have to know what you’re talking about,” said Whittell High science teacher Brian Rippet.

After Sullivan finished the science curriculum, he asked Ripest, “OK, what’s next?”

Rippet told him that organic chemistry is the next step in college.

Sullivan replied, “OK, what’s next?”

So, with the approval of the school board, Whittell High began offering organic chemistry this year. The school had to use college textbooks since there weren’t any texts written for the high school level.

After the camp, he plans to return to the area for a year before studying chemical engineering at either the University of California, San Diego, or the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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