CORVALLIS, Ore. - What type of power would propel a sixth grader to Mars? Oregon middle school students attending the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science camp will find answers based on their new knowledge about energy from animals, photosynthesis and other metabolic processes.

Forty-eight Oregon students entering grades 6-8 will demonstrate what they have learned about Earth systems Aug. 4-15 at Oregon State University. Classes will help them understand the interrelationships of calories for energy, plant production, soils, the nature of living things, water and landforms and habitat components.

As part of the two-week residential camp, students will take a trip to OSU's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport for lessons about how marine animals adapt to their harsh environment.

Back on campus, they will try out their own "tsunami-proof" structures, made of small pieces of wood, at the Hinsdale Research Lab wave tank. In another challenge, students will have 15 minutes to make a miniature raft to test their understanding of buoyancy and density, and will compete in a rally. They also will perfect their racing skills with vehicles propelled by mousetraps.

Bernard Harris, the first African-American astronaut to walk in space, will visit the camp on Tuesday, Aug. 11. In 1990, he was selected as a NASA astronaut and flew his first mission three years later. He founded the Bernard Harris Foundation in 1998 to develop math/science education and crime prevention programs for America's youth.

The summer science camp is offered at 30 universities across the country. The full cost of the camp's education program, field trips, food and lodging is covered by an $80,000 grant from the ExxonMobil Foundation and the Bernard Harris Foundation.

"In Oregon and across the nation, 4-H Youth Development supports a mandate from the United States Department of Agriculture," said Virginia Bourdeau, executive director of the camp. "We encourage middle school students to learn about science, engineering and technology and invite participation from those who are traditionally under-represented in higher education and employment."

"We introduce students to a university campus and positive experiences with adult mentors, which we hope will help them seek education beyond high school," Bourdeau added.

The summer camp is a group effort of the OSU Extension 4-H Youth Development; College of Education, Science and Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE) program; Department of Science and Mathematics Education in the College of Science; and College of Engineering.

Follow the camp's daily activities on the following blog:

Students attending the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp:

Albany: Kevin Koos
Astoria: Zhoe Rub
Aumsville: Ruby Faz
Bend: Albert Kolodziejczyk
Boring: Madeline Welch
Burns: Ryan Cashen
Diamond: Corbin Hammond
Estacada: Emma Olds
Eugene: Benn Jesser, Hannah Yi
Gold Beach: Naomi Veloso
Hammond: Katherine Carey
Hermiston: Tristan Mitchell
Hillsboro: Joshua Cheng
Hubbard: MaCaila Sharp
Independence: Johan Bodnovits
Ione: Rachel Holland
Junction City: Quin Vandenberghe
Klamath Falls: Stephanie Rey-Paolini
LaPine: Jake Brown
Madras: Marina Sansom
McMinnville: Santiago Flores, Morgan Schoenthal, Alexis Vargas
Medford: Erick Peregrina
Milwaukie: Zachary Kimoto
Monument: Ellen Reule-Ramirez
Myrtle Point: Linnea Greenlund
Nehalem: Nathan Imholt
Pacific City: Sophia Solano
Philomath: Marcus Weaver
Pleasant Hill: Brandon Loop-Rodriguez
Portland: Sydney Monfries, Rachel Thompson
Rhododendrun: Hunter Rada
Salem: Alexis Grabowski, Adam Jaramillo, Jacob Schifferman
Scappoose: Tristan Scott
Silver Lake: Daniel Libolt
Silverton: Flor Lucaz
Springfield: Kriscia Rivas
Sweet Home: Julie Morgan
Trail: Brenna Blankenship
Tualatin: Leonel Contreras-Anez
Union: Johnny Kennon
Warm Springs: Tyra Thomas
Warren: Patience Marshall

Click photos to see a full-size version. Right click and save image to download.


Virginia Bourdeau, 503-371-7920, cell 503-881-1948