ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp at ANSEP challenges Alaska students to construct spacecrafts fit for Mars landing

04-Aug-2017 ANCHORAGE, ALASKA – Today, 48 students from across the state had a stellar experience during the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp hosted by Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program at the University of Alaska Anchorage. As part of the program’s science, technology, engineering and math curriculum, the state’s future STEM professionals competed in the Mars Lander Challenge, a space-themed competition inspired by camp founder and veteran astronaut Dr. Bernard Harris Jr.

Through a video chat with Harris himself, students learned about his experience as the first African American to walk in space and the extraterrestrial challenges he overcame during his two shuttle missions. Students then worked alongside ANSEP staff and ExxonMobil engineers to create a spacecraft capable of absorbing a planetary landing on Mars.

“Providing hands-on, interactive experiences exposes students to the excitement and innovation surrounding the real-world application of science, technology, engineering and math at an early age,” said Harris, president of The Harris Foundation. “By helping youth build spacecrafts and design robots, we are building the next generation of STEM professionals.”

The two-week, all-expenses-paid ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp focuses on teamwork and hands-on activities, such as creating rockets, roller coasters and model homes using specially designed software. Additionally, students learn how math and science are at work in the community through field excursions to local ecosystems, parks and museums.

The ExxonMobil Foundation and The Harris Foundation have partnered for 12 consecutive years to bring math and science camps to more than 12,500 underserved students and help close the achievement gap. This is the eighth year ANSEP has been selected to participate in the program. Students chosen to participate in this year’s ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp came from nearly 20 communities across Alaska, including:
  • Anchorage: Miska Alexia, Sarah Bowker, Markayla Katchatag, Marissa Marrs, Isiah Mojin, Mallory Morris, A'Lante Owens-Player, Jakira Starks and Nivek Thompson
  • Bethel: Adryan Green, Ian Jenkins and Lena Lamont
  • Chevak: Shaina Atcherian, Jada Jones, Ayva Matchian, Jon Daniel and Zoe Wassillie
  • Fairbanks: Kadin Dayton, Sven Nelson and Mia Vent
  • Galena: Milo Huntington
  • Iliamna: Keisha Askoak and Michelle Gust
  • Juneau: Kaden Jim and Krishna Sanguni
  • Kaktovik: Danny Gordon
  • Kenai: Taylor Huett and Sydney Johnson
  • Koliganek: Tristan Goodell, Justin Nash and Paaraq Nelson
  • Kongiganak: Jarett Brown
  • Mountain Village: Matthew Beans
  • Noatak: Isaac Smith III
  • Nome: Devon Crowe, Brianna Menadelook and Kellie Miller
  • Point Hope: Mallorie Barger, Tatyana Nashookpuk and Kasey Oviok
  • Sand Point: Dick Cumberlidge and Andrew Jackson
  • Shungnak: Summer Tickett
  • St. Mary's: David Beans and Laurita Nerby
  • Tok: Hannah Ekada
  • Wasilla: Matthew Bernier
“Each summer, ANSEP looks forward to the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp, which provides new and innovative activities for Alaska’s students and gets them excited about STEM learning,” said Dr. Herb Ilisaurri Schroeder, ANSEP founder and vice provost. “ANSEP strives to provide continued academic support to students who will in turn positively impact their communities and our state. We are incredibly thankful to the ExxonMobil Foundation and the Harris Foundation for supporting these efforts.”

For more information, visit www.theharrisfoundation.org or www.ansep.net.