STEM NOLA Extends Educational STEM Programming along the Gulf Coast with $2.79 Million Dollar DOD Grant

Published 1:52 pm Friday, April 16, 2021

NEW ORLEANS, LOUSIANA, UNITED STATES, April 16, 2021 / — Military-connected families and communities along the Gulf Coast, from Gulfport, Mississippi to Panama City, Florida will experience their first STEM Gulf Coast Virtual STEM Saturday on April 17th. Hosted by STEM NOLA, a national leader in design and delivery of STEM-based activities, programs and events, students in grades K – 12 will participate in their first virtual STEM activity. In 2020, STEM NOLA received a $2.79 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to expand its educational workshops and access to virtual programming across the Gulf South, serving military-connected families and communities. More than 150 K-12 students will participate in the FREE STEM Gulf Coast event.

During the inaugural DOD STEM Gulf Coast event titled “The Power of Sound,” registrants will explore the mechanics of sound and learn all about wavelengths, amplitudes, and pitch with the support of STEM NOLA staff, facilitators and volunteers. They will design, build and test their own xylophone. STEM Kits will be provided by STEM NOLA.

“We are exceedingly grateful and incredibly proud to partner with the U.S Department of Defense in addressing some of the most urgent educational needs among military families and underrepresented communities,” says STEM NOLA CEO Dr. Calvin Mackie.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“This grant will change lives and continue the great momentum STEM NOLA created in 2020 by immediately shifting our STEM programs and afterschool activities to a virtual platform.”

The DOD grant is a part of the highly competitive National Defense Education Program Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics awards, which distributed 12 awards last year, totaling $31 million over a three-year period. The multimillion dollar grant will strengthen STEM NOLA’s innovative STEM ecosystem created to build confidence, skills and performance in STEM-related subjects and fields such as the power of wind, friction, rockets and robotics. It will continue STEM NOLA’s mission of engaging, inspiring and empowering young people and students of color through STEM-activities while providing awareness of the DOD’s STEM career opportunities.

In 2018, Mackie was selected by Gov. John Bel Edwards to serve as one of three leading Louisiana advocates of STEM preparation to represent Louisiana at the inaugural State-Federal Science Technology Engineering and Math Summit to be hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in Washington, D.C. In 2017, Gov. Edwards appointed Mackie to the Louisiana STEM Advisory Council. The council coordinates and oversees STEM education programs, to increase student interest and achievement in the fields of STEM; to ensure the alignment of education and workforce needs; and to increase the number of women who graduate from a postsecondary institution with a STEM degree or credential.

Mackie has won numerous awards including the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. He received the 2019 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Board’s Chair (CBCF) Phoenix Award. The Phoenix Award is the highest honor presented by CBCF. It recognizes individuals whose extraordinary achievements strengthen communities and improve the lives of individuals and families, nationally and globally.

Founded by New Orleans native and former tenured Tulane Engineering professor, Dr. Calvin Mackie, STEM NOLA ( is dedicated to exposing, inspiring and engaging 3 communities in learning opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The award-winning programming designs and delivers activities, programs and events, with a focus on underserved communities. The non-profit organization is dedicated to developing future Innovators, Creators and Entrepreneurs through the exposure to 21st Century skills of Communication, Collaboration and Critical Thinking. Since 2014, STEM NOLA has engaged over 65,000 students – mostly under-served students – in hands-on STEM project-based learning.

Dr. Calvin Mackie
Dr. Calvin Mackie ( is an award-winning mentor, an inventor, an author, a former engineering professor, an internationally renowned speaker, and a successful entrepreneur. He completed his degree in Mathematics at Morehouse in 1990, graduating Magna Cum Laude and a member of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society. He was simultaneously awarded a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech, where he subsequently earned his Master’s and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 1996. In 2009, then Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal appointed Dr. Mackie to the Louisiana Council on the Social Status of Black Boys and Black Men. The board elected Mackie to the chair position where he led the state’s effort to create policy and programs to positively impact the quality of life for black males and families in the state of Louisiana.