Student-Athlete Jamie Baum Engineers a Slam-Dunk Experience

Monday, March 27, 2023
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Sophomore civil engineering major Jamie Baum is a standout basketball player, even turning down Division I offers to attend Rose-Hulman. As manager for the baseball team, Baum finds being on the field to be "kind of like my sanctuary."

When five-year-old Jamie Baum first picked up a baseball to follow her older brother’s footsteps around the bases, she didn’t realize that what she was actually pitching was her future. Growing up playing multiple sports, Baum’s experiences helped her form a playbook for navigating academics at Rose-Hulman.

The civil engineering major from Los Altos, California, played Little League baseball from age 5 to age 14, and joined her first basketball team in third grade. A standout basketball player in high school, Baum turned down recruitment efforts from Division I schools to come to Rose-Hulman. Now a sophomore, Baum plays on the women’s basketball team and serves as the student manager for Rose-Hulman baseball. 

“Basketball is a big adrenaline rush. I love that,” Baum said. “But baseball is kind of like my sanctuary, my quiet place. They’re very different feelings, but I love them both.”

Baum runs toward experiences where she can take the specifications of her team’s goals and turn them into actionable strategy. Athletically, Baum’s coaches guide the team by creating plays based on the team’s needs, strengths, and goals; professionally, Baum wants to go into the design build field, allowing her to convert a client’s needs and goals into a functional, structural design. 

One of Baum’s favorite elements of athletics is the opportunity to form bonds with her teammates, a lesson she has carried into her classroom settings as well. 

“There’s a lot of collaboration when you’re an engineer, and being able to work with people is super important,” she explained. 

In 2022, Baum was invited to play for and collaborate with the USA Baseball Women’s National Team as they took on Canada in a five-game series. Baum, who will try out for the team again this summer, felt that the people she met were one of the highlights of the experience. 

“Being able to learn from the different coaches…you get different perspectives and you kind of pick and choose what works for you,” Baum noted. “Having that many more perspectives is really important.”

She sees this diversity of feedback and perspectives reflected in her academic life at Rose-Hulman as well.

“We have a lot of great professors, and you get a wide range of them from different disciplines,” she said. 

Baum was introduced to the world of engineering through her father, who is a mechanical engineer. Baum chose to pursue civil engineering because she was intrigued by the prospect of designing a tangible structure that would manifest itself in the real world, a process she is already experiencing through her class projects.

In her freshman design course, Baum’s group worked with the local NAACP chapter to develop a memorial in honor of George Ward, a Terre Haute man who was lynched in 1901. 

“We created a park-like setting around the memorial sign to attract people to read the sign and learn about George Ward,” Baum said. “They’re actually planning on constructing a park using our design.”

The project is set to be unveiled in Fairbanks Park later this year. 

Baum has found that engineering experiences like the memorial design project teach her lessons that she can apply to her athletic career as well. She’s learned to better analyze the information she is given and put that into immediate action on the court. 

“There are a lot of times in a game that you have to be able to be quick on your feet, read the situation, and know what to do with that information,” Baum said.

Baum’s background in baseball and basketball has prepared her well for her future as a civil engineer. Her ability to see the similarities between these disciplines will enable her to continue knocking opportunities out of the park, ensuring that reaching her professional goals will be a slam dunk.