Dr. Bernard A. Harris made the comments July 15 at the closing ceremonies of the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp on Southern’s Baton Rouge campus. Some 50 middle school students from the Baton Rouge area participated in the camp.
Speaking in the High-Tech Room of Southern’s College of Engineering building, Harris told the students to “find something that you like and stick to it,” relating to them that once he saw an astronaut land on the moon, he knew that is what he wanted to do when he became an adult.
“Find people who are doing those things that to aspire to do,” he told the 11- to 13-year-olds. “Use them as role models.”
Harris walked in space from the shuttle Discovery in 1995. He was a mission specialist on a shuttle flight in 1993.
The purpose of the two-week camp was to raise student awareness of the opportunities in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers. This is the fifth year that Southern has hosted the all-expenses paid camp.
ExxonMobil is sponsoring similar camps at 25 universities and colleges across the U.S. Students between 6 - 8th grades will be selected based on several criteria, including: displaying an interest in math and science; earning at least a grade point average of “B” in math and science; and overall course work.
The camp’s culminating activity was the “Spacesuit Challenge.” The students worked in teams to make and test a durable space suit sample capable of withstanding the impact of a simulated micrometeoroid shower. A number of ExxonMobil employee-volunteers assisted the students assemble the suit material.
Students also heard from State Rep. Dalton Honoré, who impressed upon them the power of a good education.