WPI to Host 2012 ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp from July 22 to Aug. 3

March 27, 2012

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Underrepresented students from Bay State middle schools this summer will come to Worcester Polytechnic Institute's (WPI) campus to partake in hands on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs at the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp. This is the third time in four years that WPI has been selected to host this overnight camp, which is free of charge to campers and is the largest of its kind in the United States.

To help prepare today's students for excellence in college and beyond, veteran astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr. and ExxonMobil are partnering for a sixth consecutive year to bring 20 all-expenses-paid math and science camps to underrepresented students across the country. The camp will be held at WPI from July 22 to August 3, 2012 through the generosity of ExxonMobil and the Bernard Harris Foundation. Applications are available now and due by May 1, 2012.

The return of the camp is a natural extension of WPI's well-established efforts in improving K-12 STEM Education. Earlier this year WPI launched the STEM Education Center at WPI, which is focused on increasing the number of STEM-trained teachers in elementary and secondary school classrooms. Additionally, WPI hosts a number of other camps and programs that introduce students to exciting and stimulating experiences that math and science offers.

"We are thrilled to again work with ExxonMobil and the Harris Foundation to host the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Camp," said NaTonia Trammel, Director of Diversity Programs at WPI. "This is an opportunity for students with an interest in STEM subjects to experience life on a college campus and immerse themselves in fun and challenging lessons and programs."

For students to have the ability and skills to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, encouragement and support in the middle school years - and beyond - is essential. Further, the National Society of Black Engineers has noted that only 4 percent of minorities graduate from high school with the requisite math and science courses they need to study engineering.

Dr. Harris is the first African-American to walk in space. The historic spacewalk occurred in 1995 during his flight on the Space Shuttle Discovery.

The goal of the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp is to ensure that students from all backgrounds, particularly from underserved and underrepresented communities, gain a deep understanding and appreciation of STEM subjects, and to promote careers in STEM fields.. The camp was also held on WPI's campus in 2009 and 2011.

During their time at the camp, students work with WPI faculty, secondary school teachers and ExxonMobil engineers on projects that focus on technology, natural science, engineering and mathematics. Campers will attend classes that include problem solving, research, and critical thinking and communications skills incorporated with the sciences, engineering, technology, design concepts, and field excursions. The two-week residential session introduces students to college life while stimulating interest in science and engineering as potential career paths.

The camp will have a 50-50 female to male ratio, representing grades 6, 7 and 8. To be eligible to apply, students should be members of traditionally under-served and under-represented populations; be entering sixth, seventh or eighth grades this fall; have at least a "B" average in math and science classes; score at least in the median range in standardize math and science exams; have exhibited interest in math and science and have strong recommendations from their current math and science teachers.

For more information and/or an application, please visit The WPI Office of Diversity and Women’s Program EMBHSSC page.

About the ExxonMobil Foundation

The ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of the Exxon Mobil Corporation in the United States. Founded in 1955 as Esso Education Foundation, the Foundation’s name was changed to ExxonMobil Foundation in 2000 following the merger of Exxon Corporation and Mobil Corporation.

ExxonMobil supports programs that encourage students to take an active interest in careers in the math and science fields, support professional development of highly qualified teachers and promote involvement of women and minorities in these subjects. In 2010, we directed nearly $110 million to education worldwide, of which more than $42 million was dedicated to math and science education in the United States.

About the Harris Foundation

Founded in 1998 by Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr., The Harris Foundation, Inc. (THF) is a 501 (c) (3), non-profit organization based in Houston, Texas, whose mission is to invest in community-based initiatives to support education, health and wealth. THF supports programs that empower individuals, in particular minorities and others who are economically and/or socially disadvantaged, to recognize their potential and pursue their dreams. Through their interactive STEM education, health and wealth programs, they prepare students and communities for a world of infinite possibilities.