The Best of Our Knowledge
3:04 pm
Mon October 12, 2009

The Best of Our Knowledge # 995

Albany, NY – ASTROBIOLOGY RESEARCH AND EDUCATION SERIES

"THE BERNARD HARRIS SUMMER SCIENCE CAMP"
Part One - STEM Education, Meet the Team Winners, Their Winning Mission -

Educators are always looking for ways to interest young students to become future scientists. One program that appears to be on the right track is the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp. The science camp is a free, academic program of The Harris Foundation, which takes an active role in shaping education in students entering grades 6, 7, and 8 this fall.

The program is named after Dr. Bernard Harris, an accomplished NASA astronaut, physician, and entrepreneur. Dr. Harris, the first African American to walk in space, plays an active role in the summer science camp, and other programs to support the historically underserved and underrepresented students with limited opportunities.

The winning team proposal was "A Mission to Europa: The Search for Life Beyond Earth." TBOOK speaks with team members: 7th graders - Ashley Daniel and Nick Bondi, from Knickerbacker Middle School in Troy, NY; 6th graders - Claire Moylan from St. Mary's, Waterford, NY and Terry Dingman, Corinth Central School, Corinth, NY; and two 5th graders - Caleb Smith, Delaware Community PS 18, Albany, NY and Danielle Silverman, Albany Academies, Voorheesville, NY.

We also speak with: Caleb's mother, Kamayo Smith; Camp Director, Cynthia Smith, who is also the Assistant Dean of Students at RPI and directs their Pipeline Initiatives & Partnerships program; plus Science Camp Instructor, Seamus Hodgkinson, a 30 year veteran of teaching math and science at Doane Stuart School in Albany, New York.

Glenn Busby reports. (12:54)

The preceding is made possible by the NASA Astrobiology Institute, through support of the New York Center for Astrobiology, located at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute - in partnerships with the University at Albany, the University of Arizona, and Syracuse University.

**(For more information about this story, or any of the other more than 150 stories featured in this current and past exclusive radio series, or if you would like to hear them again via your computer, the website given at the conclusion of the above segment is: www.origins.rpi.edu )**

EDUCATION HEADLINES AND UPDATES -

Updating the H1N1 Swine Flu Virus story we aired four weeks ago, as of our production deadlines for this show, flu vaccinations are underway across the country. Health officials now say a single shot should be effective in eight to 10 days. And maybe only one shot will be needed, instead of two. This came just in time, as flu outbreaks started to ripple across U.S. school and university campuses.

Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat and Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee that finances education, has taken over the Senate Education Committee. Senator Harkin promised to "carry on the legacy of Senator Ted Kennedy." One of his first tasks is to craft legislation to end the federally guaranteed student-loan program, as proposed by President Obama
(Mr. Obama audio bites) We'll have more updates on this legislation as it proceeds through Congress.

Glenn Busby reports. (1:30)

NATIONAL DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT AWARENESS MONTH
STUDENTS 4 SUSTAINABILITY -

As we told you a moment ago, Senator Tom Harkin is the new Chairman of the Senate Education Committee. What listeners may not remember is that Senator Harkin has also been a longtime champion of individuals with disabilities, and played a key role in crafting the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Congress reauthorized that bill just last year.

As we discussed last week, October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month in the U.S. But we found a student organization at Delft University in the Netherlands that's having an impact on people with disabilities in Africa.

The organization is called Students 4 Sustainability. They've designed, created, and produced a hand operated vehicle, now being used in Ghana, which is helping to employ several people there.

Dheera Sujan reports from Radio Netherlands. (4:26)

**(Attention listeners. If you would like to learn more about Students 4 Sustainability and the projects they support, their website is: www.students4sustainability.nl .)**