Former astronaut to visit ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp Tuesday, May 11

Dr. Bernard Harris Jr. Photo courtesy of The Harris Foundation.

The first African American to walk in space will speak at the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp Tuesday, July 11, at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 

Sponsored by the ExxonMobil Foundation and Harris, the camp offers middle school students in underserved and underrepresented populations a free, two-week learning experience in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Dr. Bernard Harris Jr., an astronaut for over 20 years, will speak as part of the camp’s media day events, which will begin at 9 a.m. in the Engineering and Information Technology Building Auditorium on the UA Little Rock campus. The event is free and open to the public. 

“There is no better way to foster a love of STEM than through hands-on experiences,” Harris said. “My goal with our camps is to foster the next generation of innovative thinkers, particularly those who may not have had significant exposure to STEM and interactive experiences like those we provide.”

Engineering and Information Technology Dean Dr. Lawrence Whitman, Assistant Dean Vernard Henley, and ExxonMobil representatives will also speak.

To celebrate Harris’ visit, campers will participate in an astronaut-themed competition, the “Mars Lander Challenge.” Competitors will use household materials to build the safest and most accurate spacecraft.

ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camps have served more than 12,500 students across the country since 2006. UA Little Rock is hosting the camp for the ninth year.

More about Dr. Harris

An astronaut for over 20 years, Dr. Bernard Harris Jr. has logged more than 438 hours and traveled over 7.2 million miles in space. Harris worked at NASA for a decade, where he conducted research in musculoskeletal physiology and disuse osteoporosis. He conducted clinical investigations of space adaptation and developed in-flight medical devices to extend astronauts’ time in space.

Selected into the Astronaut Corp in January 1990, Harris was a mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-55/Spacelab D-2 in 1993. As payload commander on Space Shuttle Discovery STS-63 in 1995, he served on the first flight of the joint Russian-American Space Program, becoming the first African American to walk in space.

Harris is the chief executive officer and managing partner of Vesalius Ventures, Inc., a venture capital firm that invests in healthcare technology and companies. He is the founder of the Harris Foundation, a nonprofit organizations that supports math and science education and crime prevention programs for America’s youth.

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