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

He's Back at NJIT: Bernard Harris, the First African-American To Walk in Space

The first African-American to walk in space returns to the NJIT campus on July 19, 2011 to inspire 55 middle-school students from throughout New Jersey (47) and New York City (8) to seek a career in science. The event will launch the free, two-week ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp (EMBHSSC) for middle-school students. Bernard Harris, MD, of Houston, veteran of two space shuttle missions and founder of the camp, will assist students in a hands-on activity led by the EMBHSSC staff and representatives from ExxonMobil Corporation, Clinton.

Teachers are calling this year’s activity the space suit challenge. Students will investigate how an object’s kinetic energy affects the impact it has upon a surface. Students will work in teams to make and test a durable space suit sample capable of withstanding the impact of micrometeoroids.

ATTENTION EDITORS: Don’t miss Harris.  He’s a great champion of science education and an inspiration.  He’ll teach the class at approximately 10:30 a.m.  At 12:30 p.m., he will address students.  NJIT is the only college campus in the New York metropolitan region to offer the program.

See students happily participating in a fun and exciting science adventure, and who are excited to learn more about science careers from ExxonMobil engineers and scientists. The piece de resistance is always Harris, who, following lunch, speaks from the heart for 30 minutes about how he became interested in science and why students should too. 

The program is based on studies showing that the US faces a critical shortage of engineers, scientists and other technically trained workers. To help address this crisis, Harris and ExxonMobil provide 30 free two-week summer camps across the country.  The camps offer innovative math and science programs to encourage middle-school students to develop their knowledge and foster their interest in engineering and other areas in science.  

New Jersey students are from: Bayonne, Belvidere, Bergenfield, Butler, Camden, Carteret, Cranford, East Orange, Englewood, Fair Lawn, Forked River, Fort Lee, Great Meadows, Harrison, Haskell, Hoboken, Jersey City, Kearny, Lodi, Mercerville, Metuchen, Montclair, Newark, North Bergen, Old Bridge, Orange, Pemberton, Piscataway, Plainfield, Point Pleasant, Princeton, Somerset, Teaneck, West Orange and Willingboro. 

New York students are from: Brooklyn, Forest Hills, Hollis and Manhattan.

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.