Astronaut Prepares Area Students for Success with Math and Science

July 9, 2013

WHAT:     Fifty area middle-school students are using the summer break to sharpen their math and science skills through the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp at Bowie State University (BSU).The two-week, all-expenses-paid program, founded by former astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr., is one of 20 camps being held on university campuses nationwide. The experience immerses campers in hands-on, team-based learning activities designed to reveal the science behind the latest technology, increase environmental awareness and explore how math impacts daily life.

On July 12, BSU will showcase its innovative camp curriculum with a unique “Space Day” competition, which challenges campers to create the most durable spacesuit swatch using household items. Harris, university faculty and camp counselors will lend their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) expertise to students for the challenge.

WHO:        Dr. Bernard Harris, the first African American to walk in space
              Fifty local middle-school youth

WHEN:     Friday, July 12, 2013
              8:30-11:30 a.m.
              *Best visuals available from 9-11 a.m.

WHERE:   Bowie State University
             Center for Learning and Technology, room 102

VISUAL:   Local students creating and testing spacesuit samples alongside veteran astronaut Harris and ExxonMobil engineers. Campers will use an “impact tester” that mimics the extreme elements in space to determine the winning design, which must be capable of withstanding space debris.

WHY:      Research from The Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University indicates a majority of young people experience summer learning loss, with low-income youth more significantly impacted than any other socioeconomic group. 

ExxonMobil Foundation and Harris have partnered for eight consecutive years to bring math and science camps to underserved students across the country in an effort to close the learning gap and encourage youth to pursue STEM careers. The program has helped more than 7,000 students hone their STEM skills.

CONTACT:  Merritt Talbott
                Sunwest Communications
                214.373.1601 (office)
                512.964.718 (cell)

                Damita Chambers
                Bowie State University
                301.860.4311 (office)
                301.832.2628 (cell)
                dchambers@bowiestate.edu                           

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