University of Oklahoma receives $80,000 ExxonMobil Foundation Grant to Host Prestigious Summer Science Camp

  • April 5, 2011, 8:51 p.m.

ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp

The University of Oklahoma is the recipient of an $80,000 grant from ExxonMobil Foundation and Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr. that will provide funding for the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp. OU is one of 25 campuses selected to partner with veteran astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr. and ExxonMobil Foundation to increase math and science interest among youth, hosting a two-week science camp at no cost to Native American and other underrepresented middle school students in the area.

Held on the University of Oklahoma’s main campus in Norman, this camp gives students the opportunity to explore the challenges and rewards of study, as well as life on a major university campus. Days will be filled with hands-on learning activities, laboratory experiments, and field excursions. There will be recreational activities each evening and students will return home for the weekend. Students will also have the opportunity to study with scientists, instructors, and researchers in the geosciences and tour the school of Geology and Geophysics lab facilities. Forty-eight students will be selected for the summer science camp and will stay in the residence living halls.

To be eligible, all applicants must be entering sixth, seventh or eighth grades in the fall. Interested students will need recommendations from their current math and science teachers, a 250-word essay, median-to-superior level scores on all standardized math and science tests within the past year and a B-average or better in all math and science classes to complete their application.

“The University of Oklahoma is proud to be a part of a program that has such a significant impact on our local students,” says Chris Elliot. “We believe the knowledge our students gain during the camp will increase their passion for science and math throughout their lives.”

Harris is best known for his historic contributions to science as the first African-American astronaut to walk in space and a NASA researcher. Today, Harris dedicates himself to education initiatives that empower students to increase their science, technology, engineering, and math skills through his organization, The Harris Foundation.

“We are proud to sponsor the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camps as they provide great building blocks to inspire students today to pursue math and science-based careers essential to solving the problems of the future,” said Suzanne McCarron, president, ExxonMobil Foundation.  “Engaging them in middle school is critical in order to capture their interests as they begin to plan for high school and beyond.”

Since 2006, ExxonMobil Foundation has collaborated with Harris to host summer science camps at numerous academic institutions across the country. Each year, the camps provide more than 1,200 middle school students, primarily from urban districts, with the opportunity to participate in engaging lessons and activities provided by NASA and The Harris Foundation. Campers reside on campus for the duration of the program and attend daily classes taught by university faculty and local secondary teachers.

The ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp application is available online at youth.ou.edu. Please direct all questions regarding applications and program requirements to Cassie Eads at (405) 325-6897.