Launching Dreams

Neuqua Valley senior, Veronica Picchi shares her experience at space camp.

When many people think of NASA Space Camp they think of astronauts training to go to space, but for Neuqua Valley High School senior, Veronica Picchi it was to gain experience for a future career in biotechnology.

Getting into space camp can be tough since so many students apply, so when the acceptance letter did come for Picchi it was a pleasant surprise.

“I treated that essay and treated the entire application process as a whole, as a hone to practice to my college essay skills,” said Picchi.

More than 500,000 people from all 50 states and more than 40 different countries have attended space camp since it started in 1982
While at space camp Picchi experienced a flight launch simulator, a g-force simulator, and her favorite part of the camp a DNA extraction.

“Because I am in genetics right now it was really a chance for me to apply what I have learned over first semester of this past school year to real life situations. I just really love biology so it was definitely the best educational experience for me,” said Picchi.

Picchi’s interest in biology stems from her freshman year biology class at Neuqua Valley. Her teachers say they weren’t the least bit surprised of her acceptance to space camp.

“Veronica’s a great science student. She gets really excited about the material and she’s very organized and dedicated and really a great student,” said Picchi’s genetics teacher, Jacqueline Mimnaugh.

The camp was developed to promote math, science and technology while teaching decision-making, teamwork, and leadership.
Leading others came naturally for Picchi. She took home the Leadership Quality Award for Critical Thinking.

“The fact that she got in was just incredible. Then coming home having won one of the top awards at the event is just incredible,” said Veronica’s mother, Stephanie Picchi.

“Throughout the week when your communicating with strangers across the world, you really have to put yourself out there and really communicate and get to know your teammates and motivate them,” said Veronica Picchi.
Picchi enjoyed her experience so much she hopes to become a camp counselor or land a summer internship at space camp.

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