- Home >
Students thrive at science camp
Show new skills at media day
July 20, 2010--Anyone doubting the enthusiasm, and the love for learning of 54 area middle-schoolers at ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp should have seen them at media day at Trine University Tuesday.
Eljona Fiorita, center, a process design engineer for ExxonMobil’s Joliet, Ill. branch, discusses the engineering involved in a raft competition with Ginesha Robinson of Lindley Elementary School in Fort Wayne, front, and Kamry Sheffield of Miami Middle School in Fort Wayne, right. The students showed off their engineering skills during a media day for ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp at Trine University Tuesday.
Students energetically applied skills learned at the two-week residential camp to show off for parents, siblings, government leaders and area media while applying the message of camp founder Dr. Bernard Harris, the first black astronaut to walk in space: Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it.
Dr. Harris founded the camp, with support from ExxonMobil, to expose talented but traditionally underserved students to careers in science, mathematics and engineering. Trine University conducted the summer science camp at no cost to the families of students from Fort Wayne, Leo, Garrett and Hamilton locally, and as far away as South Bend, Ind., Kalamazoo, Mich. and Defiance, Ohio.
At the event, ExxonMobil engineer Eljona Fiorita told students of her childhood love of science in her native Albania, and how she knew that to have a career in the field, she would have to continue learning and educating herself. The Harris Foundation’s Rene Flores, program director for the camp, backed up the message. “You are among the best and brightest, and we hope to see you back here as Trine undergraduates,” he told them.
Trine President Earl Brooks II made that even more possible and relevant by announcing the continuation of a $1,000 annually renewable Trine University ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp scholarship, launched last year for any of the campers who choose to attend Trine after high school. “This scholarship is waiting here for you as you build upon your experiences and complete your studies. We encourage you to work hard and prepare well,” he said.
“Escape from Harris Island,” a raft competition in which students tested their knowledge of Archimedes’ principle of buoyancy, capped off the event. Students constructed rafts of two sheets of aluminum foil and four plastic straws, hoping their rafts would hold the most pennies without sinking. In the end, the team “Elephante” built a raft that held the top number of 180 pennies.
During the camp, students used the LEGO Mindstorms system to construct and program animal-inspired robots called “robotimals,” and participated in science, mathematics and engineering projects with Trine and other instructors. Camp ends Friday with the display and judging of students’ final projects at 4 p.m. in the University Center mall.
Joseph Fider, a Miami Middle School math teacher in Fort Wayne, instructed at the science camp. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and it’s exciting to see the connection they make here with theory and putting together a project to demonstrate what they are learning,” he said. “It’s great to see them debate and collaborate. It’s wonderful for them because they live on Trine’s campus and work together as teams.”
“The campers amaze me every day with how much they are learning and how much they already knew,” said camp executive director and Trine Middle College Director Kelly Stout. “I feel so honored to be able to work with the Harris Foundation and ExxonMobil to offer these types of opportunities.”