Captain’s Interview: STEM in the Park

Before our inaugural Durham Softball season, we asked our team captains to answer some questions about their organizations so we can help educate our players on their cause and why their work is important for the Durham community. These are their answers!

STEM in the Park

Co-Captain’s Name:
Sarah Windsor

Job / Title with Non-Profit:

Personal Background:
I’m am from the area originally, having gone to NCSU for undergrad and UNC for graduate school. Because I’m from here, I am passionate about lifting up under-served students of the area towards interests and careers in the STEM field. My background as a microbiologist lends itself to cool and gross stories about bacteria!

What is your softball experience level?
Minor league for sure. Sitting this season out because our first kid is due in May!

What does you like most about STEM in the Park?
The mission of STEM in the Park is close to my heart as a local product of Wake and Durham County public schools, two local public universities and as a STEM professional myself.

Please describe STEM in the Park and what they do for the Durham community.
The mission of STEM in the Park is to give students, who are traditionally underserved in the STEM workforce, exposure to STEM activities and mentoring with local STEM professionals. In addition, we aim to develop an effective pipeline of exposure and knowledge of real world STEM applications to educators, as well as equip STEM companies and higher education institutions with tools to establish and grow their own outreach events.

In 2017 alone, we served 209 students and 44 educators with programming through our STEM Expos and Educator Externtrips. Since 2014, we have established over 220 community partnerships, served 6,226 students across NC and engaged 1,467 volunteers in over 13,000 hours of service.

What is a specific project/initiative will a contribution from Durham Softball help?
Contributions from Durham softball will help us extend our services to local teachers to include not only more Educator Externtrips (STEM immersion field trips to local STEM companies) but invest in an educator mentoring program with those same local STEM companies.

Why did STEM in the Park want to join the Durham Softball League?
We love the community of RTP and the region! This is chance to have some fun, sweat a little, and contribute towards 10 local organizations that make a positive impact on our city!

What would STEM in the Park do with a $200 donation from Durham Softball? What would they do with a $1000 donation?
A $200 donation will go towards funding local students to attend one of our STEM Expos that happen twice a year! During this event, students interact with local STEM companies through hands-on demonstrations, develop and pitch a STEM product during STEM Tank and can meet and get to know STEM professionals through Speed Mentoring. If you are a STEM professional, looking to get involved in our work, head to our webpage.

A $1000 donation would go towards the establishment of an educator mentoring program through our Educator Externtrips. This would be a time to extend the learnings of a 3 hour experience at a STEM company to longer term meetings with a local STEM employee to transform classroom teaching!

Other than your own team, what other non-profit in the Durham Softball League would you want to win the championship? Why?
We love our musical buddies over at Kidznotes!

Featured Week Donation Item: Brain Food!

Help fill a “STEM in the Park Bag” at our STEM Expos! During each Expo, STEM in the Park gives all students a large bag to collect STEM materials at the event, store business cards of STEM professionals, and take home finished experiments from a fun-filled day of STEM in Research Triangle Park. These bags come pre-filled with essentials the students will need during the day, including snacks. Our goal is to help STEM in the Park fill their student bags with quick, individual-sized portions of various snack foods to feed their students. All individual-sized bags of pretzels, chips, trail mix, goldfish, peanuts, etc. will be accepted.

During one week of the 2018 season, Durham Softball players will have the chance to donate BRAIN FOOD to STEM in the Park. The team that combines to bring the most bags of brain-food-eligible items to give to STEM students will earn a bonus donation for their team’s sponsor! Points will be awarded per bag and donations will be accepted at the field until the last out of the last game each week.

Thanks for your support!