Northeastern University Hosting ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Program – Media Day Set for July 9, 2008

NASA Astronaut Bernard Harris to Visit Campers on Wednesday, July 9

BOSTON – July 1, 2008 – Forty eight Boston-area students will call Northeastern University their home for two weeks this summer when they take part in the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Program. Open to middle school students with a strong interest in math and science, this program provides them the opportunity to work alongside Northeastern faculty, staff and students on projects aimed at increasing their knowledge and experience in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This free program runs in more than 25 universities across the country, and Northeastern is the only campus in New England selected to host the program.

Former NASA astronaut, Bernard Harris, Jr., M.D., the President of the Harris Foundation, will be visiting Northeastern’s campers on Wednesday, July 9, 2008 between 10 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. ET. The students will have the opportunity to meet Dr. Harris and Al Sacco, Professor of Chemical Engineering at Northeastern and a former NASA Astronaut, as they learn about space exploration. Two engineers from ExxonMobile will also be on hand during the day on July 9.

Below is a schedule of events for Wednesday, July 9:

  • 9 a.m.– Raft Rally – Cabral Center, O’Bryant African-American Institute, 40 Leon Street, Boston, MA
  • 10:00 a.m.– Flight Presentation and Discussion with Al Sacco and Dr. Bernard Harris at the Cabral Center, O’Bryant African-American Institute, 40 Leon Street
  • 11 – 11:30 a.m.– Intro to Bottle Rockets at the Cabral Center, O’Bryant African-American Institute, 40 Leon Street
  • 12:45 – 2:45 p.m.– Bottle rocket building at the Cabral Center, O’Bryant African-American Institute, 40 Leon Street
  • 3:15 p.m. – Bottle Rocket Launch – The Fenway football field (The Fens – Park Drive)

Harris, who is working for the third year with ExxonMobil to deliver these camping programs to academically qualified students, hopes that programs like this help spark an interest in these students to pursue careers in science and technology fields. This years’ program will reach more than 1,200 students, up from 900 last year, based on such a high demand for students to be able to attend.

“The goal of the camps is to give students a first-hand look at how fun it can be to understand the wonders of how math and science play a role in the electronics that they enjoy most every day,” said Harris.

During the two weeks, students will work individually and in groups in Northeastern’s state of the art lab space housed in the Colleges of Engineering and Arts & Sciences. Faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students will provide mentorship for the campers both during and after the summer program, encouraging students to develop their skill sets in the areas of STEM subjects.

The camp focuses primarily on introducing students to engineering and science through hands-on activities and demonstrations. Students will work on projects related to civil, biomedical and electrical engineering, as well as many other areas. Activities include building and launching bottle rockets, studying microbes under a microscope, building and testing a bridge and working with nanoparticles. They will also hear from professors about current issues for their generation, promoting the importance of STEM education.

“Northeastern is honored to be the one campus in New England chosen to host the Bernard Harris Summer Science Program for the second year in a row,” explained Claire Duggan, Associate Director for Northeastern’s Center for STEM Education and Co-Executive Director of the camping program at Northeastern. “This provides such a great opportunity for students to learn from experts and to develop the confidence and skills necessary to succeed in the areas of STEM.”

Northeastern University 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. For more information about the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Programs, please visit

For more information about Northeastern’s involvement with STEM education, please contact Jenny Eriksen at (617) 373-2802 or via email at

About Northeastern

Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is a private research university located in the heart of Boston. Northeastern is a leader in interdisciplinary research, urban engagement, and the integration of classroom learning with real-world experience. The university’s distinctive cooperative education program, where students alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of paid work in fields relevant to their professional interests and major, is one of the largest and most innovative in the world. The University offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate in six undergraduate colleges, eight graduate schools, and two part-time divisions. For more information, please visit