250 youth participate in fun-filled STEM learning during STEM Fest in New Orleans

December 13, 2021 - 10:10 AM

NEW ORLEANS, LA – More than 250 K-12 scholars participated in the 8th STEM NOLA STEM Fest held at the Joe Brown Recreation Center in New Orleans East Saturday. The event celebrates STEM NOLA’s eight years of exposing, inspiring and engaging New Orleans youth in STEM learning.

Scholars from across the region had the opportunity to interact with more than 50 different STEM activities including designing and programing robots, racing remote control cars and engaging in Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence demonstrations. Other activities included making slime, flying drones in our drone cage, and building tooth-pick bridges and towers. Students also had access to a makers space where they built and decorated their own battery powered cars and holiday sleighs.

“This is year eight, and I remember eight years ago in December 2013 in the cold rain when 500 people showed up, so it makes me emotional to see people still coming out,” said Dr. Calvin Mackie, STEM NOLA CEO & Founder. “What it shows is that there is a thirst in our community to be exposed to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics of the 21st Century.”

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The STEM Fest offered an opportunity for students to innovate, create and make with nearly 50 college interns and learn with STEM professionals from Entergy, Chevron, Boeing Company and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory who volunteered time.

 “We all know that the future is STEM, so to see this in New Orleans East is really exciting and to see how it’s drawing kids from all over our city,” said State Rep. Jason Hughes. “What really warms my heart is to see kids at such a young age being exposed to the STEM field.”

Courtney-Leigh Guilbeaux and her daughter Kyleigh began participating in STEM NOLA’s virtual STEM events at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and were thrilled to participate in an in-person STEM NOLA event for the first time.

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“Kyleigh loves science, and we’re very happy we’ve been involved with STEM NOLA for about two years now. It’s helping her grow tremendously, and her confidence in science has grown as well.” Guilbeaux said. “I love that STEM NOLA gives opportunities for kids to explore STEM.”

Thanks to great sponsors, such as DOD STEM, the City of New Orleans, Entergy, Chevron, AT&T and Boeing Company, Dr. Mackie launched STEM NOLA in 2013. The non-profit brings STEM education into New Orleans communities with hands-on programs at churches, schools and community centers.  In July, Dr. Mackie launched STEM Global Action (SGA), which is working with communities across the United States and in other countries to expand STEM learning, especially in communities that have been under resourced. STEM NOLA is one of the growing list of SGA affiliates.  

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