Media Advisory: Former Astronaut Prepares Area Students for Success with Math and Science

June 25, 2012 — Fifty-two area middle-school students are using the summer break to sharpen their math and science skills during the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp at the University of Virginia.

The two-week, all-expenses-paid program, founded by astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr., is one of 20 such 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. This year’s theme is "iCreate: STEM Design for a Sustainable Future."

On June 29, the University of Virginia 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. ExxonMobil engineers and university faculty will lend their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) expertise to students. Superintendents from each school district are invited to attend and support their students.

The competition will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at U.Va.'s School of Engineering and Applied Science in Thornton Hall.

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 seven 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 6,000 students hone their STEM skills.