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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

First African-American Astronaut Bernard Harris Visits NJIT Summer Science Camp

If Einstein could have picked a summer camp, he would have opted for the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp. An exciting, two-week adventure filled with field excursions and science experiments, the summer camp proves that math and science can entertain a crew of youngsters and help them brush up on their studies over the summer months.

As a component of the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp, hosted by New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), campers will participate in an “ExxonMobil Day,” July 24, 2007, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Campus Center Atrium at NJIT.  Students will receive an insider’s look at engineering and other science careers by conducting hands-on experiments and participating in interactive demonstrations. 

(ATTENTION EDITORS: Call Rosalyn Roberts, 973-596-3433, to set up interviews with participating students in this national program of which NJIT represents the only venue in New Jersey, New York and Pennsy representing: Burlington County: Hainesport; Essex: Newark (25 students); Montclair (6); East Orange; Belleville; Hudson: Union City (6); Middlesex: East Brunswick; Kendall Park; Piscataway: Passaic: Paterson; Somerset: Green Brook, Somerset; Union: Summit.)

The U.S. will face a shortage of more than 500,000 engineers, scientists and other technically-trained workers by the year 2010, according to a Congressional task force study. The study states that it is essential to educate youth in the math and science fields at an early-enough age to engage and retain their interest in these disciplines through college and future careers.

In an ongoing effort to address this issue, former NASA astronaut Dr. Bernard Harris and ExxonMobil have partnered for the second year to provide academically-enriching, summer camp programs to middle school youth.

“With a critical shortage in the nation’s technically-trained workforce, ExxonMobil’s commitment to math and science is not limited to investing in these programs with funding, but also through our engineers and scientists serving as role models and making personal connections with these students,” said Gerald McElvy, president, ExxonMobil Foundation. “We hope that these camps will foster the students’ fundamental interests while educating them about promising career opportunities associated with these disciplines, so that we may encourage and inspire future generations to be proficient in math and science.”

This year, the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camps expanded from 2 to 20 camps at colleges and universities across the nation. The camps, which are free of charge, are offered to local, academically-qualified middle schoolers, interested in math and science and recommended by teachers.

“The expansion of the camps was a direct result of high demand from students who wanted to attend last year’s camps,” said Dr. Harris, veteran of two space shuttle missions and the first African-American to conduct a space walk.  “There is a whole segment of the younger generation who are seeking opportunities to expand their minds through scientific study. The key is to nurture that interest and thirst for knowledge through innovative and exciting activities, therefore cementing in the students a commitment to these disciplines.”

“NJIT is honored to host this year’s ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp,” said Suzanne Berliner, camp director at NJIT. “Already we have seen incredible enthusiasm and interest from our campers, sparked by the connection between the exciting, interactive experiments and field excursions and the core curriculum taught by our highly qualified and motivated teachers.”

NJIT was selected as a camp host because of its long-standing commitment to math and science education and its efforts to support and promote local community youth in these disciplines.

NJIT, New Jersey's science and technology university, enrolls approximately 10,000 students pursuing bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in 120 programs. The university consists of six colleges: Newark College of Engineering, College of Architecture and Design, College of Science and Liberal Arts, School of Management, College of Computing Sciences and Albert Dorman Honors College. U.S. News & World Report's 2012 Annual Guide to America's Best Colleges ranked NJIT in the top tier of national research universities. NJIT is internationally recognized for being at the edge in knowledge in architecture, applied mathematics, wireless communications and networking, solar physics, advanced engineered particulate materials, nanotechnology, neural engineering and e-learning. Many courses and certificate programs, as well as graduate degrees, are available online through the Division of Continuing Professional Education.