teachHOUSTON Receives Grant, Ownership of Bernard Harris Science Camp

ExxonMobil Contributes $80,000 to Flagship Summer Program

As recently as 2007, teachHOUSTON, a math and science teacher-preparation program at the University of Houston, was an emerging pilot program hosting 14 students. Three years later, teachHOUSTON has been awarded an $80,000 grant from ExxonMobil, as well as the reigns for the flagship Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp.

The ExxonMobil grant, awarded earlier this year, will be used to fund a variety of field trips and experiments that complement the camp's theme, "Houston: We Have a Mission...POWER UP!" Forty-eight selected middle schoolers will converge on the UH campus July 18-30 to tackle the series of hands-on math and science activities.

"As one of the original Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp programs, we are honored and thrilled to take on ownership of the camp," said Paige Evans, science master teacher with teachHOUSTON. "We have a stellar lineup of field trips and exercises for this year's campers aimed at fostering a greater interest in not only how things work, but also how they can work better."

The ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp, named for Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr., the first African American to walk in space, is the largest of its kind in the nation and offers a two-week, free-of-charge experience.  Students typically come from urban districts across the country and are recommended by their teachers, based on leadership skills and science and mathematics aptitude.  This year, more than 1,500 students will attend ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camps hosted by 30 college campuses across the country.

At camp, students attend daily classes in the natural sciences, engineering, mathematics and technology, taught by faculty of participating universities and secondary classroom teachers who receive professional development training.  Activities include classroom study; experiments; individual, team and group projects; weekly field excursions; and motivational guest speakers.

Separate from the Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp, the teachHOUSTON program was modeled after UTeach at The University of Texas at Austin. The program provides hands-on training to science, computer science and math majors interested in teaching by pairing them with master teachers at UH and mentor public school teachers. The program's enrollment is one of the largest in the country and has won national praise for its innovative approach to meeting the critical shortage of qualified math and science teachers in public schools.

The future teachers are assigned to Houston-area public schools, where they observe classrooms and then try teaching lessons, beginning early in their college careers. Students rotate through elementary-, middle- and high-school classrooms. Students who attend full time can complete a science or math degree and earn education certification in four years.

More information about student eligibility and selection criteria can be found at the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp website at www.theharrisfoundation.org.  


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