Former Astronaut Launches Middle School Students on a Mission to Pursue Careers in Math and Science
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HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Houston-based former U.S. Astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr. will give almost 10,000 Houston-area students a first-hand experience with the wonders of science, technology, engineering and math during a high-tech, high-energy performance at the Toyota Center on Monday, Dec. 14. The event, the final stop of the 2009 “Dream Tour, presented by ExxonMobil,” will feature appearances from local athletes, ExxonMobil engineers, and upbeat performances from local artists all focused on encouraging students to pursue careers in math and science.
Students from the Alief, Aldine, Fort Bend, Houston and North Forest school districts will join Dr. Harris for the two-hour program. The tour, which has visited nine other U.S. cities in 2009, is designed to encourage middle school students to realize their potential and strive to acquire strong math and science skills.
“When I was growing up, I dreamed of traveling in space. Education enabled my dream and now I would like to encourage students to follow their dreams by pursuing careers in math and science,” Dr. Harris said. “America’s students have incredible opportunities. The Dream Tour is one way to open their eyes to the limitless possibilities they have, as long as math and science education are part of the equation. This stop of the tour will be the culmination of years of hard work and it is a tremendous way to give back to the Houston area and invest in our future.”
From humble beginnings in Houston to making history as the first African American to walk in space in February of 1995, Dr. Harris is a living example of achieving high aspirations. His story provides a powerful backdrop to bring his message to students in cities across America. In 2008, the inaugural year of The Dream Tour, Dr. Harris encouraged more than 8,500 middle school students in Boston, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York City, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, St. Louis and Washington, DC. In its second year, The Dream Tour has been to Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Miami, Mobile, Oakland and Seattle as Dr. Harris continues to motivate and inspire students to pursue math and science.
“ExxonMobil is focused on the need to attract more of America’s students to pursue careers in math and science,” said Gerald McElvy, president of the ExxonMobil Foundation. “This starts with taking higher level math and science courses in middle school and high school. The classes they choose today can make or break their options for the future, and ‘The Dream Tour, presented by ExxonMobil,’ is one way to highlight those career possibilities.”
For more information about The Dream Tour or Dr. Harris, please visit www.daring2dream.org.
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. 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. More than 10,000 K-12 students participate and benefit from THF programs annually. www.theharrisfoundation.org
Donald J. Claxton or Jillian Fleming, 214-373-1601