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More than 100 children of all ages attended the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day event at DOE Headquarters in Washington, DC, and Germantown, MD, last month.

DOE’s Chief Human Capital Officer Candice Robertson kicked off the event in the Forrestal auditorium, welcoming the children and their sponsors—parents, grandparents, and other family members that work at the Department. She spoke about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers and quizzed the children about the multifaceted mission of the Department. The kids really knew their stuff!

Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Day 3
NNSA Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty gives opening remarks at Department of Energy’s Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

Ms. Robertson then introduced the keynote speaker, National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, who spoke about the exciting work being achieved by DOE’s scientists, engineers, and support staff across the Department, including the National Labs. She described how the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California has the world’s largest laser, which is used to conduct complex physics experiments, and how scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory are helping NASA power future missions to Mars.

“At DOE you can reach your fullest potential—whatever that may be and wherever it may lead—and that’s what today is all about. It’s a chance for your parents, your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, and your mentors to offer a glimpse of what it’s like to be a grown-up and to work here at the Department. It is an opportunity for you to see first-hand what they do every day to contribute to our safety and security of our wonderful United States of America,” said the Administrator.

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One of the participants eager to get the day started!

She encouraged the kids to “dream big and always stay curious.” She asked that while they enjoy the fun activities throughout the day to be thinking about the types of jobs that appeal to them and to ask tough questions. The kids wasted no time in doing just that. The Administrator concluded her remarks by opening it up for questions from the audience, and she had to respond to some tough ones. Their questions ranged from how she got her job from the President to what would happen if there was a nuclear attack.

After the opening remarks, the children and their sponsors started their day of fun-filled activities. They discovered all types of shapes in natural objects during their outdoor nature scavenger hunt, but the real lesson was in the importance of teamwork and how much more one can achieve when working together with others. Meanwhile, the older kids were led through a speed mentoring session where they had the opportunity to interact with DOE employees in a variety of professions.

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Group of children participating in a nature scavenger hunt outside of the Forrestal building.

Throughout the day, there were brief presentations from three Oxon Hill High School interns, each describing their internship experience at DOE, what they learned, and how the experience is helping them reach their future career goals.

Other activities included the fuel cell demonstration, in which kids learned about the importance of hydrogen and how fuel cells are being used for advancements in transportation and a variety of other areas. Focused more on management and leadership, the “KidBiz” session gave the older kids an opportunity to share their business ideas and get some feedback on how they could build upon those ideas and eventually turn them into a business.

In the afternoon, DOE’s Chief Information Officer Max Everett spoke to the children about how technology is used for the Department’s missions. He also emphasized the importance of safe online practices and protecting your personal information, explaining how each of us has a “digital footprint.”

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Children showing the lava lamps they created with water, oil, food coloring, glitter, and Alka-Seltzer.

To conclude the day, the kids had a great time making their own lava lamps while they learned about the science that causes the bubbles and movement in the liquid. The day was a success! The children left DOE with a lava lamp, knowledge about science and career options, fun memories, and inspiration to “dream big and always stay curious.”

Check out all of the amazing photos from the day on DOE’s flickr account.