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

MEDIA ADVISORY: First African-American Astronaut Who Walked in Space Visits NJIT July 15

WHAT: The first African-American astronaut, Bernard Harris, ExxonMobil engineers and 52 middle school students will design and construct at NJIT small rafts of aluminum and straw designed to hold pennies. The exercise will demonstrate Archimedes’ law which explains buoyancy, or why objects seem to lose weight in water or other liquids. This principle has been applied ever since the age of Archimedes to test precious metals. NJIT is the New York metro region’s only location (of 25 around the U.S.) for Harris and the free, two-week ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp.

WHO: Bernard Harris, the first African-American to walk in space, NJIT instructors, Exxon-Mobil engineers and 52 students from Clifton (1); Dover (1); East Brunswick (1); East Rutherford (1); Hoboken (1); Jersey City (3); Kearny (2); Montclair (3); Morris Plains (1); Newark (22): North Bergen (4); Readington Township (1); Rockaway Township (1); Stewartsville (1); Teaneck, (1); Toms River (2); Union (1); Union City (2); West Orange (1).  NJIT will be Harris’ only New York metro appearance. Camp closes July 17, 2008. To set up photo(s) and/or in-person interview(s) with Harris and area student(s) call Sheryl Weinstein, 973-596-3436.

WHEN: July 15, 2008, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.  NOTE: Program closes July 17.

WHERE: NJIT, 323 Martin Luther King Blvd., Newark

WHY: Studies show that the United States will face a critical shortage of engineers, scientists and other technically trained workers. To address this crisis, Harris and ExxonMobil have teamed up to develop a camp offering innovative math and science programs to encourage middle school students to stay in school, develop their knowledge in these disciplines and foster their interest to eventually pursue careers in these fields. 

One of the nation's leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT's multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of more than 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering, and cyber-security, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $110 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com.