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FAMU Quenching Local Students Thirst for Knowledge This Summer
John Ameen, a seventh grader at Fairview Middle School, discusses his project with former Astronaut Dr. Bernard Harris during the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Science Camp.

June 23. 2010

. – While many middle school-aged students are spending their summer days at the local pool, those participating in the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp at Florida A&M University (FAMU) are escaping the heat by diving into a fun, two-week adventure in math and science. Campers will delve into relevant topics such as sustainability, energy, clean water and robotics as they learn about exciting career opportunities available to them through science, technology, engineering and math.
“We are building the next generation of scientists and engineers here at Florida A&M University through this camp,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons.  “I am proud to be a part of this initiative.”

Today, participants heard from former astronaut Dr. Bernard Harris.  Harris and ExxonMobil have partnered since 2006 to provide the two-week residential camp free of charge to underserved middle school students at 30 college campuses across the country, including FAMU.

“These camps are an investment in our future, which is you,” said Harris.

Following Dr. Harris’ presentation, the campers had the opportunity to present their science projects ranging from the quality of bottled water to tap water, the water cycle and the fuel cell of an automobile.

Mell Riley, an 8th-grader from Orlando, presents his group's science experiment, which demonstrates the fuel cell of an automobile, to the other campers during the ExxonMobile Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp.
The campers shared their enthusiasm about the camp.

“I enjoyed the labs because of all the hands-*on activities,” said Brian Willford, a 13-year-old from Atlanta, Ga.  “It was exciting to meet Dr. Harris. I want to be a scientist when I grow up.”

Vitiara Brown, an eighth grader at FAMU Developmental Research School, expressed her excitement about the camp.

“This is a good educational camp,” said Brown.  “The teachers gave us a lot of work to do that will help us in school.  This camp is a great way to kick-off the beginning of my eighth grade year.”

Campers are taught by university faculty, attend daily classes in natural science, engineering, mathematics and technology and enjoy activities including classroom study, experiments, individual and team projects, weekly field excursions and inspirational guest speakers. As part of their educational experience, the campers also work side by side with engineers and other professionals who are accomplished in their chosen technology related careers.

“ExxonMobil is committed to engaging the next generation of creative minds, thinkers and developers who will keep the United States competitive,” said Suzanne McCarron, president of ExxonMobil Foundation. “By partnering with Dr. Harris, we are able to reach talented students and provide them with an experience that could lead them to pursue a career in math, science, engineering or technology.”

Decatur Rogers, executive assistant to President Ammons for STEM, science, technology, engineering and math, said the opportunity the campers are experiencing is unique.

“FAMU is honored to host the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp,” said Rogers. “Not only are we providing these students with two fun-filled weeks on our campus and offering many students the unique opportunity to experience a college campus for the first time, we are investing in our community by encouraging the next generation of innovative problem solvers.”

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