WPI to Host ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp - 2013

March 04, 2013

Underrepresented students from Massachusetts middle schools will come to Worcester Polytechnic Institute's (WPI) campus this summer to experience hands-on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs at the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp. This is the fourth 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.

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To help prepare today's students for excellence in college and beyond, veteran astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr. and ExxonMobil are partnering 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 21 to August 2, 2013. Applications are available now and due by May 1.

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.

"WPI has great pride in partnering with the Harris Foundation and ExxonMobil in carrying out the mission to serve underserved students with aspirations in STEM disciplines," said Bonnie Hall, WPI Director of Multicultural Affairs. "Hosting the Harris Foundation's Camp allows us to provide outreach in a very tangible, meaningful way that will impact students' future academic and career choices, but also build their self-esteem in a way that will positively impact the rest of their lives."

The theme for this year’s camp is "Strange Matters – It’s a Material World." The 48 students attending the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp at WPI will test and develop their engineering and science prowess during daily activities that emphasize development of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.

"The Harris Foundation inspires kids to pursue STEM careers by providing them with hands-on

science and engineering activities that help them sharpen their problem-solving skills and envision

themselves in these careers," said Bernard Harris Jr., president, The Harris Foundation. Dr. Harris' historic spacewalk occurred in 1995 during his flight on the Space Shuttle Discovery.

Students stay overnight on campus during the two-week camp and participate in classes taught by university faculty, secondary teachers and local STEM professionals. As part of the interactive, inquiry-based curriculum, campers also enjoy the added benefit of exploring local museums, nature centers and ecosystems, allowing them to discover science at work in their communities.

According to a recent Harris Foundation study of camp alumni who are currently enrolled in college, 96 percent credit the program for influencing their decision to pursue higher education. Of those college students, 85 percent plan to pursue a STEM-related degree.

"ExxonMobil is committed to helping students strengthen their math and science capabilities,"

said Suzanne McCarron, president, ExxonMobil Foundation. "These camps are one way to

equip our nation's youth with skills needed to be competitive in an increasingly global economy."

Eligible applicants must be entering sixth, seventh or eighth grades in the fall of 2013. Additional

information regarding application requirements and submission instructions for each camp are

available at thr Harris Foundation.  More information and an application is available from WPI's Office of Multicultural Affairs.

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, it 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 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.