2009 Camp Students

The UNM School of Engineering will be one of 30 locations for an ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp this summer.  This is the second year that University of New Mexico, School of Engineering's Engineering Student Services and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) have hosted the camp.

The camp will be held June 13-25 and will include 50 middle schoolers, mainly recruited from rural communities in New Mexico and Arizona.  The camp's theme is Traditional Knowledge, Modern Challenges.

The residential camp gives students a first-hand experience with experiments, role models and innovative programs to encourage their continued participation in math and science courses in school.  Additionally, their leadership potential and citizenship skills are fostered along with their abilities to work in teams and think creatively, while spending two weeks in a college campus environment.  The ultimate goal is to raise their awareness of career possibilities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"UNM, School of Engineering's Engineering Student Services and AISES are excited to be part of this wonderful camp experience for our local students," said Tina Pino, AISES Program Officer and Camp Director.  "We're not only providing these students with an amazing two weeks on our campus, we are also doing our part to develop the next generation of creative thinkers and inventors."

During the 2009 summer camp 48 selected students were introduced to robotics, bridge building, solar technology, and medical simulation dummies.  Participants took field excursions to Los Alamos National Laboratory, Santa Clara Canyon, and Acoma Pueblo.  The activities and excursions incorporated problem solving, research, writing, and communication skills.

The students also had an opportunity to meet and ask questions of former astronaut and camp founder, Dr. Bernard Harris, as well as fellow astronaut, Commander John Herrington, Chickasaw, USN Retired, during the camp.

Unlike most summer camps, there is no fee required to attend the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp.  Young people who are academically qualified, recommended by their teachers and genuinely interested in math and science attend these educational camps at no cost.

Students will attend daily classes in natural science, engineering, mathematics and technology, which will be taught by faculty from the University of New Mexico and area school districts. Activities include classroom study, experiments, individual/team/group projects, weekly field excursions and guest speakers who motivate the students into fulfilling their dreams.

Repeated studies have shown that the United States faces a critical shortage of engineers, scientists and other mathematics- and science-literate workers, as we have a significant number of practicing engineers nearing retirement and not enough students are pursuing related degrees. Through numerous efforts, ExxonMobil is supporting programs and organizations that focus on improving mathematics and science education at all levels.

About the UNM School of Engineering

Founded in 1906, the University of New Mexico School of Engineering offers engineering and computer science undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a research-intensive environment. The School provides a technical workforce for the state in a variety of industries, while patents and startup companies resulting from School of Engineering discoveries strengthen New Mexico's economy. Research areas of expertise include nanotechnology, biomedical engineering, energy, the environment, computer information technology and complex systems. www.soe.unm.edu

About the American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES)

AISES is a national, nonprofit organization headquartered in Albuquerque which nurtures building of community by bridging science and technology with traditional Native values. Through its educational programs, AISES has provided opportunities for American Indians and Alaska Natives to pursue studies in science, engineering, and technology arenas.  Currently AISES' extensive membership network includes over 2,500 members, 160 college chapters, and 200 K-12 Affiliated schools,  representative of over 200 American Indian tribes.

About ExxonMobil Foundation

ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of the Exxon Mobil Corporation in the United States.  The Foundation and the Corporation engage in a range of philanthropic activities that advance education, health and science in the communities where ExxonMobil has significant operations.  In the United States, ExxonMobil supports initiatives to improve math and science education at the K-12 and higher education levels.

Globally, ExxonMobil provides funding to improve basic education and combat malaria and other infectious diseases in developing countries.  In 2008, together with its employees and retirees, Exxon Mobil Corporation, its divisions and affiliates, and ExxonMobil Foundation provided $225 million in contributions worldwide, of which more than $89 million was dedicated to education.  Additional information on ExxonMobil's community partnerships and contributions programs is available at www.exxonmobil.com/community.

About The Harris Foundation

Founded in 1998, The Harris Foundation is a 501 (c) (3), non-profit organization based in Houston, Texas, whose overall mission is to invest in community-based initiatives to support education, health and wealth. The foundation supports programs that empower individuals, in particular minorities and economically and/or socially disadvantaged, to recognize their potential and pursue their dreams.

The Education Mission of the Harris Foundation is to enable youth to develop and achieve their full potential through the support of social, recreational, and educational programs for grades K-12. Through three primary initiatives— The DREAM Tour, the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp and Dare to Dream—the foundation encourages math and science education, motivates youth to stay in school, fosters youth leadership and citizenship, as well as instills the values of responsibility, fairness and respect.

The Harris Foundation believes that students can be prepared now for the careers of the future through a structured education program and the use of positive role models.  To date, more than 10,000 K-12 students have participated and benefited from THF programs.  For more information visit: The Harris Foundation.

Media contact: Karen Wentworth (505) 277-5627; kwent2@unm.edu