Three Washington, D.C.-Area Universities Combine Media Day Activities for Summer Science Camp to Empower Future Scientists and Engineers

  • Bowie State University, Howard University and University of Virginia hold joint event in D.C. July 14
  • Sponsored by ExxonMobil, free camps reach under-served populations
  • Camps show middle school students that math and science are exciting and fun
Jul 15, 2009 - 11:44 AM EDT



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WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Instead of video games and skateboards this summer, middle school students from three D.C.-area universities — Bowie State, Howard University, and University of Virginia — created their own mind-bending fun at a special event held during a two-week summer science camp adventure on the campus of Howard University. With topics of discovery such as a mission to Mars, robotics, energy and the environment, the free camps are designed to spur the imagination of today’s students and encourage them to pursue careers in math and science.

As a component of the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp, Howard University campers were joined by campers from Bowie State University and the University of Virginia to participate in a special “Media Day,” which was held at Howard University’s Armour J. Blackburn Center, on July 14. Students worked side by side with engineers as part of their educational experience. At the same time, they were exposed to role models who are accomplished in their chosen technology-related careers.

This is the fourth year that former NASA astronaut Dr. Bernard Harris and ExxonMobil have partnered to provide these academic enrichment camps on university campuses. The camps are offered to middle school students from traditionally under-represented and underserved populations who are academically qualified, recommended by their teachers and genuinely interested in mathematics and science. This year’s program is expanded to include 30 campuses across the country with the goal to reach 1,500 students.

According to data from the Congressional Diversity in Innovation Caucus, African Americans hold only 4.4 percent of science and engineering jobs while just 3.4 percent are held by Hispanics.

“This represents a significant percentage of untapped talent who could potentially be our next generation of technology innovators," said Gerald McElvy, president of ExxonMobil Foundation. "At ExxonMobil, we are committed to helping increase students’ interest in lucrative and exciting careers with this unique camp experience.”

“Howard University is honored to again host the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp,” said Dr. LaWanda V. Peace. “For some, this is their first exposure to a college campus, and to couple that with hands-on experiences is a powerful way to encourage students to achieve their dreams for the future.”

Bowie State University, Howard University and University of Virginia were selected as camp hosts because of their long-standing commitment to math and science education and their efforts to support and promote local community youth in these disciplines. For more information about the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camps, please visit

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

About 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.

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For ExxonMobil
Jillian Fleming, 214-373-1601

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Howard University hosted more than 150 middle schoolers as part of the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp held in July. Students attending camps at Bowie State University, Howard University, and University of Virginia put their engineering skills to the test in an exciting and educational competition to build the strongest raft. ExxonMobil has been sponsoring the free camps for four summers and reaches students at 30 college campuses across the United States. The goal is to encourage middle school children, particularly from under-represented populations, that science, technology, engineering and math are fun. (Photo: Business Wire)