STEM NOLA has received a $2.79 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to expand its educational workshops and access across the Gulf South, serving military-connected families. STEM NOLA’s largest award to date is a part of the highly competitive National Defense Education Program Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics awards, which granted a total of 12 awards this year, totaling $31 million over a three-year period.

STEM NOLA Saturday STEM Session with Navy Officer Oversight

“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 Calvin Mackie. “This grant is life-changing. It will continue the great momentum we’ve created this year by immediately shifting our STEM programs and afterschool activities to a virtual platform.”

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 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics 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.