|[April 13, 2012]
Astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris Jr. Tells Pittsburgh Youth 'Sky is the Limit' with Math and Science
PITTSBURGH --(Business Wire)--
More than 300 middle school students rallied behind science, technology,
engineering and math (STEM) education on April 12 at Pittsburgh Sterrett
6-8 during The
Dream Tour, a high-energy motivational program presented by Dr.
Bernard A. Harris Jr., the first African American to walk in space.
Dr Bernard Harris Jr. shares his inspirational story of triumph and achievement through education with students during The Dream Tour. (Photo: Business Wire)
The high-tech event, supported by ExxonMobil Foundation and XTO Energy,
is designed to encourage interest in STEM careers. Highlights included a
simulated shuttle launch as well as an inspirational message from XTO
Energy engineer, Max Boone, who spoke about the rewarding aspects of his
career. The program culminated with a motivational address from Harris
about how he overcame barriers through education to achieve his dreams
and become a successful physician, businessman, NASA researcher and
"Forty years ago, who would have thought our handheld devices would have
the same computing power as the technology used to send humans to the
moon?" said Harris, founder and president, The Harris Foundation. "With
The Dream Tour, I want to inspire students to use their talents and
creativity to become innovators who push the boundaries of what people
think is possible."
The evening before the school presentation, Harris hosted an Educational
Forum at Carnegie Science Center for area educators and community
leaders to discuss potential ways to transform STEM education.
The need to encourage students to consider STEM careers is more critical
than ever. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Commerce estimated STEM job
creation will outpace non-STEM jobs over the nex decade, growing 17
percent, as compared to 9.8 percent for non-STEM positions; however, the
number of Americans graduating with degrees in STEM fields is not
keeping pace with current projections.
"We are investing in the education of our future leaders today so they
will be prepared for tomorrow," said Suzanne McCarron, president,
ExxonMobil Foundation. "ExxonMobil is committed to encouraging the next
generation of scientists and engineers by engaging students in math and
science, and opening their eyes to the possibility of a career in these
In September 2011, The Dream Tour made its first international stop - a
three-country African tour - to expand the program's impact and address
the need for strong STEM initiatives worldwide.
As part of The Harris Foundation's (THF) continued efforts to turn the
tide in STEM education, THF and ExxonMobil Foundation recently hosted a
National Educational Forum in Washington, D.C., where they urged
policymakers and education leaders to enact positive change in our
nation's schools and communities.
Since its inception in 2008, The Dream Tour, with its message of
empowerment and achievement through math and science education, has
touched the lives of more than 60,000 students.
About The Harris Foundation
Founded in 1998, The Harris Foundation is a 501 (c) (3), non-profit
organization based in Houston, Texas, whose overall mission is to invest
in community-based initiatives to support education, health and wealth.
The foundation supports programs that empower individuals, in particular
minorities and economically and/or socially disadvantaged, to recognize
their potential and pursue their dreams.
The Education Mission of The Harris Foundation is to enable youth to
develop and achieve their full potential through the support of social,
recreational, and educational programs. The Harris Foundation believes
that students can be prepared now for the careers of the future through
a structured education program and the use of positive role models. More
than 15,000 students annually participate and benefit from THF programs. www.theharrisfoundation.org
About ExxonMobil Foundation
ExxonMobil Foundation is the primary philanthropic arm of the Exxon
Mobil Corporation in the United States. In the United States, ExxonMobil
supports initiatives to improve math and science education at the K-12
and higher education levels. In 2011, together with its employees and
retirees, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM), its divisions and
affiliates, and ExxonMobil Foundation provided $278 million in
contributions worldwide, of which $120 million was dedicated to
education. Additional information on ExxonMobil's community partnerships
and contributions programs is available at www.exxonmobil.com/community.
About XTO Energy
XTO Energy, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, is a leading natural gas and oil
producer in the U.S. with expertise in developing tight gas, shale gas,
coal bed methane and unconventional oil resources. XTO has operations in
all major U.S. producing regions. XTO has a reputation for efficient
resource development, environmental stewardship and community
involvement, with a particular commitment to education and building job
readiness to meet the growing challenges and requirements of our
domestic natural gas industry. www.xtoenergy.com
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