WPI to Host ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp for Middle School Students

Dr. Bernard Harris Jr., ExxonMobil Reps to Speak at August 4 Media Day at WPI
Media Contact
July 28, 2009

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will host Media Day -- featuring Bernard Harris Jr., a former NASA astronaut and the first African American to walk in space -- to celebrate the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp at WPI. This is the first time the camp will be held at the university – it will run from July 26 to August 7.  Sponsored by ExxonMobil and the Bernard Harris Foundation, the camp provides 48 underrepresented middle school students (24 girls and 24 boys) from the central Massachusetts region with opportunities to learn technology as well as natural science, engineering, and mathematics from WPI faculty, secondary school teachers, and even ExxonMobil engineers. The camp’s theme at WPI is "Revolutionary Robotics," which is fitting for the university, since it's the home of the nation's first undergraduate degree program in robotics engineering.

As a part of Media Day, campers will compete as they attempt to build a raft to "Escape from Harris Island." They will also conduct hands-on experiments, participate in highly interactive demonstrations, and learn about engineering and other science careers with ExxonMobil engineers and scientists.


9:15 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Alden Memorial, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, Mass.


Dr. Bernard Harris Jr., state Sen. Michael O. Moore, D-Millbury,

Worcester Mayor Konstanina B. Lukes, and WPI senior officials


Studies show that the United States is facing a critical shortage of engineers, scientists, and other technically trained workers.  To help address this crisis, former astronaut Bernard Harris and ExxonMobil are providing 30 free two-week summer camps across the country that offer innovative math and science programs to encourage middle school students to stay in school, develop their knowledge and foster their interest to eventually pursue careers in these fields. 

The addition of the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp to WPI complements the university's already well-respected K-12 outreach program, which is also focused on introducing young people to the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Dozens of WPI programs, including other summer camps, provide myriad learning opportunities and resources for both teachers and students in kindergarten through high school.


9:15 – 9:25 a.m. Welcome and Staff Introductions

  • Dr. Nicole Bradford, executive director, Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp at WPI, and WPI's director of diversity programs.
  • WPI Provost and Senior Vice President John Orr
  • Dexter Bailey, WPI vice president of development and alumni relations
  • State Sen. Michael O. Moore, D-Millbury
  • Janet Richardson, WPI vice president of student affairs and campus life
  • Worcester Mayor Konstantina B. Lukes to deliver Proclamation from City of Worcester

  9:25 – 9:30        Introduction of Dr. Bernard Harris Jr.

                            Kevin Wayns, camp program manager

  9:30 – 10:15      A conversation with Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr. 

10:15 – 10:30      Q&A with Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr. 

10:30 – 10:45      Group Photo with Dr. Harris, outside Alden Memorial

10:45  - 10:50      Mr. W. C. Lewis (Lew) and Mr. Damian A. Guzman, ExxonMobil engineers

10:50 – 11:00       Escape from Harris Island (The Raft Rally)

                             Mr. W.C. Lewis (Lew) and Mr. Damian A. Guzman, ExxonMobil engineers

11:00 – 11:45       Raft Rally

11:45 – 12:45       Lunch Morgan Dining

12:45 – 1:00         Wrap Up /Announcement of winning group 

About ExxonMobil Foundation

ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of the Exxon Mobil Corporation in the United States.  The Foundation and the Corporation engage in a range of philanthropic activities that advance education, health and science in the communities where ExxonMobil has significant operations.  In the United States, ExxonMobil supports initiatives to improve math and science education at the K-12 and higher education levels. 

Globally, ExxonMobil provides funding to improve basic education and combat malaria and other infectious diseases in developing countries.  In 2008, together with its employees and retirees, Exxon Mobil Corporation, its divisions and affiliates, and ExxonMobil Foundation provided $225 million in contributions worldwide, of which more than $89 million was dedicated to education.  Additional information on ExxonMobil’s community partnerships and contributions programs is available at www.exxonmobil.com/community.

About The Harris Foundation

Founded in 1998, The Harris Foundation is a 501 (c) (3), non-profit organization based in Houston, Texas, whose overall mission is to invest in community-based initiatives to support education, health and wealth. The foundation supports programs that empower individuals, in particular minorities and economically and/or socially disadvantaged, to recognize their potential and pursue their dreams.

The Education Mission of the Harris Foundation is to enable youth to develop and achieve their full potential through the support of social, recreational, and educational programs for grades K-12. Through three primary initiatives— The DREAM Tour, the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp and Dare to Dream—the foundation encourages math and science education, motivates youth to stay in school, fosters youth leadership and citizenship, as well as instills the values of responsibility, fairness and respect. 

The Harris Foundation believes that students can be prepared now for the careers of the future through a structured education program and the use of positive role models.  To date, more than 10,000 K-12 students have participated and benefited from THF programs.  www.theharrisfoundation.org