Oakland A’s, Chevron hit home run for STEM education

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Oakland A’s, Chevron hit home run for STEM education
Last month, the Oakland A’s and Chevron partnered to bring a science fair-style competition and STEM showcase to the Community Zone at FanFest at Jack London Square. (photos and video by Rafael Lima)

The Science of Baseball program presented by Chevron is not only hitting home runs in Bay Area classrooms, but also in the heart of downtown Oakland.

Last month, the Oakland A’s and Chevron partnered to bring a science fair-style competition and STEM showcase to the Community Zone at FanFest at Jack London Square.

Pitching in at the event (naturally) was A’s southpaw Ryan Buchter.

The Winter STEM Showcase was the culmination of the A’s Fall Science of Baseball presented by Chevron, which puts engineers, athletes and teachers on the same team for the common goal of bolstering middle and high school education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

As part of the Science of Baseball program, teachers at Bay Area schools are given a fun, engaging STEM curriculum featuring a baseball theme. Classroom materials provided by the program teach basic scientific principals through the sport and are aligned with California Common Core Math Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.

Once the curriculum is completed in the classroom, students have the opportunity to display their end-of-program project at a fun STEM event.

On Saturday, Jan. 26, student projects were exhibited at Jack London Square as part of a showcase. In addition to showcasing student projects, the event included the Chevron STEM Zone, an interactive mobile-space where students, teachers, and parents learn how science, technology, engineering, and math concepts are connected to sports and everyday life. Student projects competed for prizes, with top winners receiving autographed A’s merchandise along with Chevron-funded gift cards from DonorsChoose.org to buy classroom materials.

This year’s top prize went to students at Emery High School in Emeryville. Their project, “Row Reduction Echelon Form,” focused on data analysis and statistics — factors that have been integral to the A’s success under former GM and current team executive Billy Beane, as detailed in Michael Lewis’ famous baseball book, Moneyball.

In second place was a project by first graders at Oakland’s Brookfield Village Elementary called “How Far Can We Throw.” The project examined pitching speed.

Buchter helped judge the projects along with Rhonda Morris, Chevron Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Matthew Payne, Chevron Refinery Business Manager, Distillation & Reforming, and Nica Sylvia, Science of Sport representative and Engineer at Legacy Foundations.

Morris called Chevron a proud partner of Science of the Game. Since 2014, the company has invested $400 million worldwide in STEM education, both because STEM subjects prepare students for the jobs of the future, and also because they provide Chevron its own workforce of the future.

“If you continue building your skills in science, technology, engineering and math, we would love to hire you when you are older,” Morris told participating students. “It’s not just a project, and it’s not just about baseball. It’s about you getting a job working for us in the future.”

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