U.Va.'s Engineering School Offers Science Camp Solution to Summertime Blues

May 11, 2007 -- The ExxonMobil Foundation and former NASA astronaut Bernard Harris have announced U.Va.’s  School of Engineering and Applied Science as a location for one of the 20 ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camps to be held in summer 2007. The camp will be held July 8 – 20 and accommodate up to 48 middle school students from the area.    

The two-week residential camp will offer innovative programs to enhance middle school students’ knowledge in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) while encouraging youth to stay in school and develop their leadership potential and citizenship skills. In addition, camp programs will expose students to campus life, improve their abilities to successfully complete university programs in STEM disciplines and enrich the math and science teacher/educator expertise in science, engineering and technology. Together, the 20 camps will reach more than 1,000 students.

“U.Va.’s Engineering School is honored to be chosen as one of the universities to host this esteemed science camp,” said Carolyn Vallas, director of  U.Va.’s Center for Diversity in Engineering and camp director.  “We believe this is a great opportunity to generate interest in the math and science fields among today’s youth and prepare them to succeed in these subjects at the high school and collegiate levels. We are looking forward to a fun and exciting summer as we develop the future scientists and engineers of America.”

Unlike most summer camps, there is no fee required to attend the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp. Young people who are academically qualified, recommended by their teachers and genuinely interested in math and science can be rewarded with the opportunity to attend these fun and educational camps at no cost.

The students will attend daily classes in natural science, engineering, mathematics and technology, which will be taught by faculty from U.Va.’s Engineering School and Charlottesville-area school districts. Activities include classroom study, experiments, individual/team/group projects, weekly field excursions and guest speakers who motivate the students into fulfilling their dreams. The University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science will be accepting applications for the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp through May 18.  Interested students can access the application at www.theharrisfoundation.org/programs/summersciencecamp/virginia.htm, or can contact Carolyn Vallas at (434) 924-0614.

“Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are now critical elements to our nation’s economic, security and medical advancements in the 21st century and beyond. Preserving our nation as the world leader in these fields requires an investment in our youth today,” said Dr. Harris, veteran of two space shuttle mission and the first African-American to walk in space. “We are glad to extend this opportunity to the University of Virginia and appreciate their eagerness to support our program’s efforts in encouraging students to reach higher standards of achievement.”    

For a complete list of campus locations, camp activities, student eligibility and selection criteria, please visit the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp website at www.theharrisfoundation.org.

About the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science

Founded in 1836, the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science combines research and educational opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Within the undergraduate programs, courses in engineering, ethics, mathematics, the sciences and the humanities are available to build a strong foundation for careers in engineering and other professions. Its abundant research opportunities complement the curriculum and educate young men and women to become thoughtful leaders in technology and society. At the graduate level, the Engineering School collaborates with the University’s highly ranked medical and business schools on interdisciplinary research projects and entrepreneurial initiatives. With a distinguished faculty and a student body of 2,000 undergraduates and 650 graduate students, the Engineering School offers an array of engineering disciplines, including cutting-edge research programs in computer and information science and engineering, bioengineering and nanotechnology. For more information, visit www.seas.virginia.edu.

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. THF 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 two primary initiatives -- the 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.  To date, more than 2,500 K-12 students have participated and benefited from THF programs.

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 2006, Exxon Mobil Corporation, its divisions and affiliates, and ExxonMobil Foundation provided $139 million in contributions worldwide, with $54 million dedicated to education. Additional information on ExxonMobil’s community partnerships and contributions programs is available at www.exxonmobil.com/community.