Astronaut Bernard Harris to visit youth science camp at Virginia Tech June 25

BLACKSBURG, Va., June 19, 2007 – Former NASA astronaut Bernard Harris Jr. will be traveling to Virginia Tech on Monday, June 25 to promote math and science education and motivate youth to stay in school.

He will speak at 10:30 a.m. in the Fralin Auditorium. Sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the event is free and open to the public.

Harris is a medical doctor and was the first African American to walk in space.

“I am looking forward to making this visit by a national treasure and accomplished astronaut and physician to our college a memorable one,” said Ed Smith, professor of animal and poultry sciences and director of the Virginia Tech Post-Baccalaureate Research and Education Program (VT-PREP).

Selected by NASA in January 1990, Harris became an astronaut in July 1991 and qualified for assignment as a mission specialist on Space Shuttle flights. A veteran of two space flights, Harris has logged more than 438 hours in space. Harris was part of the payload crew of Spacelab D-2, conducting a variety of research in physical and life sciences. Additionally, he was the payload commander on the first flight of the new joint Russian-American Space Program. Mission highlights included the rendezvous with Mir, the Russian Space Station.

Harris will be speaking to about 50 middle school students who are participating in a 2007 ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp. The camp is an innovative, two-week residential program designed to enhance students’ knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while encouraging them to stay in school and fostering youth leadership and citizenship. Virginia Tech is one of 20 universities around the country chosen to host the camp.

A previous story has more information about the 2007 ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp and its sponsors.

Nationally ranked among the top research institutions of its kind, Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences focuses on the science and business of living systems through learning, discovery, and engagement. The college’s comprehensive curriculum gives more than 2,200 students in a dozen academic departments a balanced education that ranges from food and fiber production to economics to human health. Students learn from the world’s leading agricultural scientists, who bring the latest science and technology into the classroom.