EnvironMentors Harrisburg Campus Kickoff

Penn State Harrisburg campus is located in Middletown, Pennsylvania. Harrisburg is one of two campuses that will work with University Park in the EnvironMentors Program. This academic year, we have officially started our EnvironMentors chapter group at the Harrisburg branch campus. We have successfully recruited high school student participants from two high schools in the area, Harrisburg High Sci-Tech campus, and Middletown High. We were also to recruit both faculty and undergraduate student mentors to lead and guide the high school students during this academic year.

Furthermore, research teams have been formed and have also started working on their research projects.  Lastly, last week on Tuesday, February 25th, our Harrisburg team held their official kickoff event during all program participants and student parents got together for the first time and learn more details about the EnvironMentors program and their research projects.

Meet and Greet with Dr. Aziza Baccouche


February is Black History Month and to commemorate the contributions and impact of African Americans to the STEM field, we invited Dr. Aziza Baccouche to give a lecture to members of the student body at University Park.

Dr. Aziza Baccouche is a nuclear physicist by training and is currently working as a science media producer in affiliation with AZIZA Productions, a science media production company established in 2000. While working on her Ph.D. in theoretical nuclear physics at the University of Maryland at College Park, Dr. Baccouche received a Mass Media Science & Engineering fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and was assigned to CNN’s science and technology unit in Atlanta Georgia. During her fellowship, she gained hands-on experience producing science news video segments which aired on CNN’s newscasts. This experience launched her career as a TV science producer and on-air correspondent. After receiving her doctorate in physics in 2002, Dr. Aziza became a regular science producer and correspondent for Evening Exchange on Howard University Television, a PBS affiliate station. As president and CEO of AZIZA Productions, Dr. Baccouche spends most of her time running the day-to-day operations of her company and takes an active role in her company’s production.

Throughout her career, Dr. Baccouche has faced many challenges not only as an African American woman in Science but also has as a legally blind one. Dr. Baccouche started losing her sight at the young age of 6 years old due to a brain tumor and has gone through 9 brain surgeries since then. Despite these many challenges, Dr. Baccouche has persevered through, and remained resilient and committed to her goals and purpose. Dr. Baccouche  is currently producing a personal television documentary titled “Seeking Vision.” Through this film, she hopes to change the general public’s perception and attitudes about the abilities of legally blind and other disabled people. Last week, on Wednesday, our EnvironMentors students had the great opportunity to meet with Dr. Baccouche and listen to her share her story.