Urban Students Named 2015 Math and Science Scholars

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Four high school seniors have been selected by the Council
of the Great City Schools
(CGCS) to receive the 2015 ExxonMobil
Bernard Harris Math and Science Scholarship. The students were chosen
from several hundred applicants across the country for their academic
performance, leadership qualities and community involvement.

Now in its sixth year, the scholarship was created by former NASA
astronaut Dr.
Bernard Harris Jr.
, the first African American to walk in space, and ExxonMobil
to assist and encourage promising students of diverse backgrounds who
plan to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies.

The awards are given annually to African-American and Hispanic seniors
from high schools in the 67 urban school districts represented by CGCS.

“These highly competitive scholarships provide an enormous opportunity
for talented urban students to pursue STEM post-secondary studies and
careers,” said Michael Casserly, executive director, Council of the
Great City Schools. “The generous support of Dr. Harris and ExxonMobil
contributes to the growth of these young men and women as they begin the
next stage of their lives.”

Each scholar will receive $5,000 for continued education in a
STEM-related field. This year’s award winners are:

  • Matthew Guillory, Robert A. Millikan High School, Long Beach (CA)
    Unified School District;
  • Sofia Kennedy, Liberal Arts and Science Academy, Austin (TX)
    Independent School District;
  • Summer Kollie, Girard Academic Music Program, School District of
    Philadelphia (PA); and
  • Nicolas Pena, Western High School, Broward County (FL) Public Schools.

In the fall, Guillory plans to attend Harvey Mudd College to become a
biomedical engineer with career aspirations to design artificial limbs
and organs. Kennedy has been accepted to Harvard University, where she
hopes to pursue a degree in scientific research, particularly focused on
untraditional uses for Botox.

With long-term aspirations of becoming a physician and researcher
concentrating on communicable diseases in Africa, Kollie will attend the
University of Pennsylvania in the fall. Pena will study engineering at
Stanford University in hopes of becoming an inventor and entrepreneur
developing high-technology products.

“Technological advancements are making our world a better place every
day, but in order to keep those achievements coming, we need creative
and analytical minds in our workforce,” said Dr. Harris. “By providing
these scholarships, we are growing another generation of strategic
thinkers who will foster diversity in ideas, applications and products.”

Administration of the scholarship program, including the application
process, pre-selection and presentation of awards, is provided by the
CGCS. Dr. Harris makes the final selection of recipients.

About The Council of the Great City Schools

The Council of the Great City Schools is the only national organization
exclusively representing the needs of urban public schools. Composed of
67 large city school districts, its mission is to promote the cause of
urban schools and to advocate for inner-city students through
legislation, research and media relations. The organization also
provides a network for school districts sharing common problems to
exchange information, and to collectively address new challenges as they
emerge in order to deliver the best possible education for urban youth. www.cgcs.org

About ExxonMobil

Exxon Mobil Corporation, the largest publicly traded international oil
and gas company, uses technology and innovation to help meet the world’s
growing energy needs. ExxonMobil engages in a range of philanthropic
activities that advance education, with a focus on math and science in
the United States, promote women as catalysts for economic development,
and combat malaria. In 2014, together with its employees and retirees,
ExxonMobil, its divisions and affiliates, and the ExxonMobil Foundation
provided $279 million in contributions worldwide. Additional information
on ExxonMobil’s community partnerships and contribution programs is
available at www.exxonmobil.com/community.

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


Council of the Great City Schools
Henry Duvall, 202-393-2427