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     FOR RELEASE                                                                                CONTACT:  Henry Duvall
                  January 30, 2016                                                                               (202) 393-2427 or hduvall@cgcs.org

    2016 Math and Science Scholars Named in Urban Schools

    Council of the Great City Schools Awards ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Scholarships

    WASHINGTON, DC (Business Wire) — Four graduating high school seniors have been selected by the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS) to receive the 2016 ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Math and Science Scholarship. They were chosen from several hundred applicants across the nation for their academic performance, leadership qualities and community involvement.

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

    The awards are given annually to African-American and Hispanic seniors from high schools in the 70 urban school districts represented by CGCS.

    “These highly competitive scholarships give talented urban students a boost in their pursuit of   postsecondary STEM studies and careers,” said Michael Casserly, executive director, Council of the Great City Schools. “The generous support of Dr. Harris and ExxonMobil helps advance 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:

    • Michael Benben, Western High School, Broward County (FL) Public Schools
    • Francesca Rafaella Dupuy, Cooper City High School, Broward County (FL) Public Schools
    • Eillen Daniela Martinez, Timber Creek High School, Orange County (FL) Public Schools
    • Dalan Omar Smallwood, Strawberry Crest High School, Hillsborough County (FL) School District

    In the fall, Benben plans to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology and aspires to major in mechanical engineering. Dupuy will be studying environmental engineering at the University of Florida. Martinez hopes to become a doctor and will attend Johns Hopkins University, while Smallwood, who will study biophysics and also has aspirations to be a physician, will attend the University of North Carolina.

    “Reading the achievements and aspirations of these young people is truly inspirational,” said Dr. Harris. “It’s my hope that the scholarships they receive will propel them to a future of fulfilling their dreams.”

    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.

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    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 70 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

    ExxonMobil, 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 2015, together with its employees and retirees, ExxonMobil, its divisions and affiliates, and the ExxonMobil Foundation provided $272 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, 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 the 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 students can be prepared now for the careers of the future through a structured educational program and the use of positive role models. More than 50,000 students have participated and benefited from THF programs. www.theharrisfoundation.org