About the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment
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Information  About the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment
About the Summit
George Mason University, along with its partners, National Geographic and the Smithsonian National Zoological Park (the National Zoo), are excited to welcome students attending the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment (WYSE) to Washington, D.C.

The Summit is a hands-on, interactive program that provides America's highest achieving high school students with an interest in the environment, conservation and sustainability, and with the desire to explore careers in the fields of environmental science, conservation, policy, law and engineering, with a remarkable opportunity.

Students take an active role in the curriculum through exclusive behind-the-scenes explorations of facilities and laboratories of the Smithsonian and National Zoo, and through exclusive field visits, special access to, and activities with, researches, scientists, directors and staff. Students are led in small groups by faculty advisors who are local experts in these fields and have extensive experience in conservation and the environment.

The Washington Youth Summit on the Environment is held on George Mason University's state-of-the-art campus, enabling attending students to experience life as a typical college student and reside in comfortable, modern, fully air-conditioned dorm rooms with wireless internet connections. Students will receive one college credit for their successful completion of the Summit, with transcripts from George Mason University that can be sent to any college or university where the Delegate seeks admission.

Our Partners: The National Zoo & The National Geographic Society
The Smithsonian National Zoological Park is a part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum and research complex. The Smithsonian includes 18 museums and galleries, as well as the National Zoo. The words "National Zoo" represent a large, complex, and diverse organization with a multifaceted mission: demonstrate leadership in animal care, science, education, and sustainability.

Throughout its 120-year history, the Society has encouraged conservation of natural resources and raised public awareness of the importance of natural places, the plants and wildlife that inhabit them, and the environmental problems that threaten them. National Geographic's explorers, writers and photographers have traveled the Earth, sharing its amazing stories with each new generation. The Society has funded more than 9,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects around the globe, and grantees make exciting new discoveries every day in both traditional and emerging fields. 

June 25-30, 2017

Students attending the Summit reside on the state-of-the-art campus of George Mason University, located just outside Washington, D.C., reside in Mason's comfortable and modern dorm rooms, and enjoy meals at its exceptional dining facilities. A large portion of the Summit takes place at exclusive facilities and laboratories, and on-site, at the Smithsonian National Zoo and National Geographic, as well as some of the most prominent and famous areas of the National Mall in our nation's capital.

Outstanding sophomores and juniors from all across the U.S. are nominated by educators and specially selected by the program to attend the National Youth Summit on the Environment, based on strong academic performance, a demonstrated interest in conservation and the environment, and the ability to serve as exceptional representatives of their states and high schools. Students with these qualifications who were not nominated by an educator may apply to attend by clicking here and completing an application.

National Youth Delegates
Students attending the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment serve as National Youth Delegates, and take an active part in the curriculum through small group activities, unique events and decision-making simulations that challenge them to solve problems and explore the creative, practical, and ethical tensions inherent in the environmental arena.

The conference will culminate in one of the most special activities of the Summit, the National Youth Delegates Dinner, an evening that features distinguished speakers and special guests. At the dinner, students enjoy recounting their experience throughout the program, have the opportunity to say good bye to their peers, faculty advisers and new friends and meet and network with the nation's top environmental leaders and professionals.

The experiential portion of the program is complemented by expert speakers who are well-known leaders in the environmental and conservation fields. Speakers include prominent researchers, directors of prestigious institutions and recent college graduates who are already successful in these fields. Speakers will engage our National Youth Delegates in thought discussions, exercises on the topics and energy-charged role-playing experiences that will take them far beyond a traditional classroom experience.

Safety and Supervision
The safety of our students is at the forefront of all Summit activities. National Youth Delegates will be led in small groups, and the resident staff/faculty (adult) to student ratio will be approximately 1:10. Students will be supervised both on campus and during all excursions and off-site activities. While National Youth Delegates do have opportunities for independent time, all students will remain in small groups with adult staff at designated meeting spots. The conference faculty is comprised of two Program Directors and a team of trained educators both at the secondary and collegiate level. All National Youth Delegates must reside in Mason's secure residence halls that are monitored at all times by adult faculty members. Parents and guardians can reach a member of our team at any time during the conference.

Tuition/College Credit
Tuition to the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment includes ALL of the following:
  • Six days of environmental conservation and leadership skills development, including hands-on activities, unique and special access to facilities and laboratories, and and experts and leader, and distinguished speakers
  • A dedicated Faculty Advisory/Mentor for the week
  • On-campus residence in state-of-the-art college dorms and facilities
  • Transportation to and from airport
  • Transportation in private motor coaches to all off-site events and activities
  • Breakfasts, most lunches, and dinners during the Summit (students should bring approximately $15/day for two lunches and snacks)
  • National Youth Delegates Dinner and Gala with distinguished speakers and guests
  • All ticket and entrance fees for activities, admissions and fees
  • Certificate of completion
  • One college credit* issued upon successful completion
  • Night chaperone staff who are present on-site throughout the night at student dormitories
  • 24-hour staff to address any unexpected emergencies
  • Tuition to attend the Conference is $1965. A deposit of $250 is due when students register for the conference, and a tuition payment plan is also available. There is are partial need-based scholarships are available.

*College credit will be issued by George Mason University. Credit is issued on a pass/fail basis, and its transferability is dependent upon the policy and discretion of the college to be attended.

Attending the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment is an amazing opportunity, and it requires a commitment of your time and resources. Many families are unable to pay for the entire conference themselves, and fundraising is an excellent way to make up the difference. To be a successful fundraiser, you will need to be resourceful. This will require you to sacrifice your free time and to plan in advance. To help you, we have put together the National Youth Delegate Fundraising Guide (PDF) designed to assist students is raising the necessary funds for the conference. This guide will help you be a more successful leader and will ultimately yield a greater sense of satisfaction in the end. Remember, start early, plan ahead and use all of your resources. Good luck and have fun!

The deadline for the 2017 WYSE Scholarship Application is December 9, 2016.  Your complete scholarship application package must be received by the WYSE Program Office by 5:00pm, EST, December 9, 2016.

A limited number of partial, need-based scholarships are available for qualified National Youth Delegates.  Scholarship awards are in the amounts of $500, $1000, and $1500, and are applied as partial tuition-waivers.  No full scholarships are available for the Summit.

A complete Scholarship Application Package comprises of:
  • A written statement of desire to participate, including explanation of need for scholarship.
  • An unofficial copy of high school transcript
  • Most recently filed Federal Income Tax Return, Form 1040 
  • Federal income tax return, Form 1040, filed by the individual by whom the student was claimed as a dependent.  Or, if you do not file some other documentation of income is acceptable.

To apply for a scholarship, the student must submit his/her complete scholarship application package via email to: wyse@gmu.edu or fax to 703-993-2631.

Notifications of scholarship awards will be sent December 16, 2016, via email.

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