The University of Oklahoma Precollegiate Programs was recently honored by the Oklahoma State Regents for their 10-year partnership with The Harris Foundation, headed by former astronaut Dr. Bernard Harris Jr., and ExxonMobil for providing the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp.
The partners were selected for the Regents Business Partnership Excellence Award to highlight their strong collaboration, history of excellence and continued growth of higher learning environments through State Regents’ Economic Development Grants. Institutions involved in these partnerships provide $500 in other financial support and receive a matching $500 State Regents’ Economic Development Grant that is utilized to enhance the education of the camp staff or the camp itself.
The summer camp is geared towards underrepresented middle school students throughout Oklahoma and broadens the diversity of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors and professionals by increasing STEM awareness at the middle school level while giving parents and community members the tools to support the students.
The Harris Foundation and ExxonMobil helped to fund the two-week summer experience for 36 students, as well as follow-up programs throughout the year for alumni and their families. These students could attend classes and conduct experiments in college classrooms and laboratories headed by OU faculty in geology and geophysics. Students interacted with and asked questions of an ExxonMobil geophysicist, a former astronaut, Dr. Bernard Harris Jr., and other STEM professionals.