Logo: University of Southern California

Viterbi School Receives $80,000 ExxonMobil Foundation Grant to Host Prestigious Summer Science Camp

All-expense-paid programs encourage middle school students to pursue math and science careers

July 13, 2011 —

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering is the recipient of an $80,000 grant from ExxonMobil Foundation and Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr. to provide funding for the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp at USC July 18-29.

Pictured from left to right: Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr., Ben Louie, Larry Lim and Beth Snyder, ExxonMobil
USC’s is one of 25 two-week, all-expenses-paid summer science camps at universities around the nation.

“The Viterbi School is proud to be a part of a program that has such a significant impact,” said Larry Lim, Director of the School’s Pre-College Programs Center for Engineering Diversity. “We believe the knowledge our students gain during the camp will increase their passion for science and math throughout their lives.”

The camp will hold a Media Day on the morning of July 27th. Students will participate in an activity around the design of a space suit. ExxonMobil will send a representative.

“We will have 48 middle school students here,” Lim said. “Most of the students are from local schools around the two USC campuses and our MESA middle schools: 32nd Street, Norwood, Foshay, Barack Obama, Synergy Academy, Sheridan, South Gate Middle School, Hawthorne, Bud Carson, Prairie Vista, Culver City, and others.”

At the camp, Lim will work with Ben Louie, the associate director of the Viterbi School’s MESA Center for Engineering Diversity.

The campers are students entering sixth, seventh or eighth grades in the fall of 2011 with recommendations from their current math and science teachers, high scores on all standardized math and science tests within the past year and a B-average or better in all math and science classes.

Dr. Harris is best known for his historic contributions to science as the first African-American astronaut to walk in space and as a NASA researcher. Today, he dedicates himself to education initiatives that empower students to increase their science, technology, engineering and math skills through his organization, The Harris Foundation.

“We are proud to sponsor the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camps as they provide great building blocks to inspire students today to pursue math and science-based careers essential to solving the problems of the future,” said Suzanne McCarron, president, ExxonMobil Foundation. “Engaging them in middle school is critical in order to capture their interests as they begin to plan for high school and beyond.”

Since 2006, ExxonMobil Foundation has partnered with Dr. Harris to host summer science camps at numerous academic institutions across the country. Each year, the camps provide more than 1,200 middle school students, primarily from urban districts, with the opportunity to participate in engaging lessons and activities provided by NASA and The Harris Foundation. Campers reside on campus for the duration of the program and attend daily classes taught by university faculty and local secondary teachers.

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 the community through innovative education, health and wealth programs. The foundation supports programs that empower individuals and their communities — particularly minorities and the economically and/or socially disadvantaged— to develop 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. The Harris Foundation believes that students can be prepared now for the careers of the future through structured education programs and the use of positive role models. More than 15,000 students participate and benefit from THF programs annually. www.theharrisfoundation.org