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Batter’s Up: Hitting a Home Run for STEM

January 25, 2018

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In honor of the National Day of Service for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, on January 16, 2018, Secretary Rick Perry and a group of staff from the Department of Energy spent an afternoon throwing baseballs, hitting the books, and challenging 7th graders to Uno multiplication contests. This was thanks to the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, a program that aims to nurture D.C. youth into thriving members and leaders through baseball, softball and STEM learning.

“I’m glad I got the chance to stop by the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy and meet so many of their talented Scholar-Athletes,” said Secretary Perry. “It was fantastic to spend time with the Scholar-Athletes and see first-hand the amazing experience you provide for our children and the country. What a great organization that helps kids realize their potential.”

Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy
Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy
Donica Payne

During the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, which meets three times a week, students are rotated between an hour of classroom activity and an hour of field/training room activity for baseball or softball. Volunteers are involved both activities, and are given assignments from the Nationals staff to support where most needed. After the classroom and field time, students all get free dinner before they head back home, homework and workout completed.

“It was such fun to spend time with the Scholar-Athletes at the Nats Academy. The coaches employ tested best practices to engage all, but especially girls, to pursue healthy lifestyles and STEM,” said Melinda Higgins, Established Scientist and Fellow in the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity.

Krystyna Frolich, Public Participation Specialist, Office of Legacy Management, enjoyed her time volunteering and plans to recruit the Young Professionals Group, a Department of Energy Employee Resource Group, to go volunteer later on this year. 

“For the first hour of the event I played sharks and minnows, handball, and some type of baseball game variation with girls who are in grades 4 through 7,” Frolich said. “It was really fun to be out there playing with the girls and seeing them learn teamwork skills.  Their enthusiasm and energy was contagious.  The girls were learning what it means to play with heart this week, and the theme on the 16th was ‘hustle’.”

Secretary Perry greeting staff at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy.
Secretary Perry greeting staff at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy.
Donica Payne, DOE

The STEM and education lessons that students pick up at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy – and in their school classrooms – are essential to cementing strong future career opportunities. STEM is a priority of DOE, and the agency recently launched STEM Rising, a coordinated national platform to showcase DOE as a leader in preparing and inspiring students, teachers, and the nation’s current workforce to pursue energy-related education and careers. Learn more about our STEM outreach efforts at energy.gov/STEM.