Written by Lauren Horn.

As part of a North­eastern Uni­ver­sity summer pro­gram, 11-​​year-​​old Ella Moyes donned a pair of safety gog­gles to design a mul­ti­lay­ered “space­suit” crafted from house­hold materials.

We had a lot of layers of foam but we did it in a pat­tern,” said Moyes, whose space­suit fabric proved most durable. “Foam was between the other mate­rials so we could make sure they were safe and had a lot of support.”

Moyes is among some four-​​dozen middle school stu­dents in Boston who are par­tic­i­pating in the Exxon­Mobil Bernard Harris Summer Sci­ence Camp. 

The free, two-​​week pro­gram — run by Northeastern’s Center for STEM Edu­ca­tion —gives stu­dents the chance to work along­side North­eastern fac­ulty, staff and stu­dents on projects aimed at increasing their knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence in the areas of sci­ence, tech­nology, engi­neering and math­e­matics (STEM). Co-executive direc­tors Claire Duggan, Richard Harris and Rachelle Reis­berg coor­di­nate the program.

On Monday, Bernard Harris — the program’s name­sake and the first African Amer­ican astro­naut to walk in space — addressed the campers.

We know you’re the smartest kids in your schools,” he said. “I think you guys have a lot to offer this world and I can’t wait to see it.”

Harris and the young campers toured Northeastern’s Amilcar Cabral Memo­rial Stu­dent Center, where an exhibit from the Insti­tute of Black Inven­tion and Tech­nology was on display.

Doctor Harris is inspiring,” said 13-​​year-​​old Julio Lanzo, who learned that an African Amer­ican invented the elec­tric lamp and the pencil sharp­ener. “He showed us that many African Amer­i­cans paved the way for us.”

I didn’t know an African Amer­ican made the super soaker,” he said. “That’s cool.”

Eleven-​​year-​​old camper Meghan Turner praised the program’s edu­ca­tional activ­i­ties and her peers.

The best part of camp was learning about every­thing in space and how it affects you,” said Turner, whose career goal is to become an engi­neer. “I’m really happy because usu­ally in camp people don’t know that much, but these campers know a lot more than reg­ular kids. We moti­vate each other.”