The Washington Youth Summit on the Environment (WYSE)

Approximately three years ago, I received a letter in the mail from George Mason University. I had no idea what was going to be inside the envelope. I opened it to see an invitation to this thing called the Washington Youth Summit on the Environment. Only 250 students from across the country are allowed to participate in this hallowed event. Long story short, after many months of frustration, crying, fundraising, and rainy afternoons, I was able to pay the $1,925 needed to attend the conference. I was nominated as a result of my academic excellence and my interest in sustainability. Were it not for that letter, I would not be here today.

The conference brought together 250 like-minded high school students for a week of enrichment, expansion in our knowledge of environmental troubles and sustainability, amongst other things. The conference was June 23-28, 2013, just three days after my birthday! I was only one of four people that went from Ohio. This conference was a gateway that led to many new things in my life. It was a time for my first flight and my first visit to Washington, D.C. This conference solidified my wanting to participate in politics.

There were many field visits and speakers that were part of the conference. One of those speakers was the the director of the Bureau of Reclamation. I visited the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, participated in a discussion on the Klamath River Basin in Oregon and the disputes occurring between locals and the Native Americans. Ladies and gentlemen, I suggest that you tell your friends in high school about this conference. It has changed my life. It is what brought me here to Mason.



  1. meghannoble04 · February 23, 2016

    Dominic, I am so glad you shared what brought you to Mason. I am glad that you posted this– it gave us all a little insight of where your passions are and your drive to get where you want to be!! I am so glad you are here at Mason, people like you are what makes this community so great. I am glad you had such a great experience in the conference, congratulations on being one of the few given a chance to attend!!!


  2. andrewwingfield · February 23, 2016

    Dominic, I knew you had participated in WYSE, but I didn’t really appreciate what a transformative experience it was for you until I read your post. Do you mind if I share this post with Richard Friesner? I know it would make him happy to know what a profound impact his program has had on your life.


  3. dtarnot · February 23, 2016

    Coming from someone else who participated in WYSE I can completely relate to this. WYSE is what compelled me to come to this school and it’s also what confirmed my desire to major in environmental science. And I agree completely, spread the word. I have already answered questions and told people in my high school about it who have been invited. It was a great experience and I, like you, would not be here were it not for WYSE.


  4. hwichaz · February 23, 2016

    This sounds like it was an amazing experience for you. I am glad you got to go to WYSE as it seems to have had a big impact on your life. Also it brought you to Mason for college which is great cause otherwise we wouldn’t have you in the Sustainability LLC.


  5. kelpea · February 23, 2016

    I think it’s interesting how every one from out of state seems to get pulled into Mason through programs which require it to reach out like this! Just like you, I was recruited through an exclusive even sponsored by George Mason, NYLF, or the National Youth Leadership Forum. Although it led to me to realization that being a forensics major wasn’t in my future, I’m glad that Mason helped you figure our your passions!


  6. aglenn6 · February 23, 2016

    I love that you wrote about the WYSE program. The Washington Youth Summit on the Environment is an amazing program. It was a program I participated in as well and eventually lead to the decision to come to Mason. I love the program and I always spread the word about it as it teaches you so much about Smithsonian, sustainability, and Mason in general. I’m so glad to hear your perspective on it. šŸ™‚


  7. eryelli · March 29, 2016

    That is so cool that you were able to go and got invited. I read this post and I was thinking about one of my friends back at home who is in high school and she got the same thing. Although I don’t think it was related to sustainability , she is focusing on mock trials and stuff like that, so the program she was invited to was about something of that sort. Very interesting mason does this cause now she’s also thinking about going to mason when she graduates.


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