Forty-eight middle school students from across Arkansas got a taste of college and rigorous, hands-on science and math experiences at the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp at UALR from July 8-14.
This was the fourth consecutive year UALR has been chosen as one of 20 sites nationally to host the academically rigorous camp. The fifth, sixth, and seventh-grade students were selected for their outstanding science and math aptitude. The program is managed by the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT).
Harris, the first African American to walk in space, is founder and president of the Harris Foundation and is on the board of directors for the National Math and Science Initiative. UALR is the only university in Arkansas selected to conduct the elite program organized by the astronaut’s Harris Foundation and funded by ExxonMobil.
The two-week residential camp was free for all students selected.
“Campers were chosen based on grades – all campers must have at least a B average in math and science – teacher recommendations, and the student’s essay,” said Vernard Henley, director of recruitment and outreach at EIT. “We had more than 110 applicants this year. We selected 24 boys and 24 girls, with 16 students – eight boys and eight girls – representing each grade level.”
Students lived on campus for the two-week camp and attend classes in biology, chemistry, English, mathematics, technology, and engineering design. They also participated in hands-on lab activities, conducted research, and worked on projects designed to develop critical thinking skills with educators certified in their respective subject areas.
The students were also presented with engineering problems to solve. The students built a model raft out of two pieces of aluminum foil and four plastics straws and calculated how many pennies each raft could support.
The camp program was originally developed as a collaborative effort of the Harris Foundation, the Houston Independent School District, the University of Houston, and the Southwestern Oklahoma State University to support historically underserved and underrepresented students with limited opportunities.
Students who attended the camp this summer and their schools are:
- Mariah Adams of Little Rock, LISA Academy
- Revan Aleti of Blytheville, KIPP Blytheville
- Brandon Beesley of Bentonville, Ruth Barker Magnet School
- Jon Boekhout of Hot Springs, Hot Springs Intermediate
- Trevor Borne of Little Rock, Christ the King Catholic
- Johannah Branch of Mt. Ida, Ode Maddox Elementary
- Amanda Brown of Little Rock, Gibbs Magnet
- David Buckner Jr. of Bryant, Bethel Magnet
- Maria Carter of Maumelle, LISA Academy
- Khalil Catman-Williams of Pine Bluff, St. Peter Catholic
- Jalarra Davis of Little Rock, Mann Magnet
- Wade Dill of Huntsville, St. Paul Elementary
- Aleecia Evans of Little Rock, eSTEM Charter
- Nathanial Evans of Beebe, Beebe Magnet
- David Fraley of Dardanelle, Dardanelle Elementary
- Imani Gosserand of Rogers, Kirksey Magnet
- Alexis Howe of Paron, Pulaski Academy
- Julian Hughes of Forrest City, Forrest City Junior High
- Ray Jackson Little Rock, Pulaski Academy
- A’yanah Jefferson of Helena, West Side Elementary
- Samantha Jones of Dermott, Dermott High School
- Zadreauna Jones of Dermott, Dermott High School
- Kouadio Kondo of Little Rock, Otter Creek Elementary
- Ashlyn Lambert of McGehee, McGehee Elementary
- Jackson Li of Little Rock, Baker Elementary
- Giovanni Mannon of Rose Bud, Arkansas Virtual Academy
- Diamond Maxfield of North Little Rock, Mann Magnet
- Aloria McKay of West Helena, Eliza Miller Junior High
- Jordan Nelms of Blytheville, KIPP Blytheville
- Greysun Perry of Elkins, St Paul Elementary
- Jacob Ponder of Sherwood, Oakbrooke
- William Rigsby of Lonsdale, Fountain Lake Middle
- Roderick Shelby II of Pine Bluff, Ridgeway Christian
- L.T. Simes IV of Lexa, Eliza Miller Junior High
- Swetha Sirigineedi of Rogers, Kirksey Middle
- Elizabeth Solleder of Hot Springs, Hot Springs Intermediate
- Grace Stewart of Sherwood, Oakbrooke Elementary
- Mary Stover of Bigelow, Our Lady of the Holy Souls
- Eric Sutherland of Mena, Acorn High
- Madelyn Taylor of McGehee, McGehee Elementary
- Pranav Vasan of Bentonville, Barker Middle
- Sarah Walker of Benton, Fountain Lake
- Courtney Ward of Arkansas City, McGehee Elementary
- Khari Williams of West Helena, Beech Crest Elementary
- Lauren Winham of Rogers, Kirksey Middle
- Brianna Winkle of Ward, Cabot Junior High
- Feiyang Xie of Little Rock, LISA Academy
- Michael Zheng of Rogers, Kirksey Middle