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PHOTOS: Hundreds of Youths Attend STEM NOLA event in New Orleans East
350+ children, parents, and volunteers attended the event at Joe W. Brown Park Recreation Center
A Boeing volunteer helps participants during the STEM NOLA Saturday event at Joe W. Brown Park May 14, 2022. | Photo by Jennsen Bentley.
On Saturday, over 350 students, parents, and volunteers came together at Joe W. Brown Park Recreation Center to participate in a STEM NOLA Saturday event. Participants worked in teams and individually to create a variety of circuits and learn about electricity.
STEM NOLA Founder Dr. Calvin Mackie demonstrates the abilities of his robot, Astro, to perform complex, human-like movements to volunteers, parents, and participants at the STEM NOLA Saturday event May 14, 2022. | Photo by Jennsen Bentley
“The kids are going to learn about simple circuits, but they’re also going to learn about parallel circuits, and series circuits,” said Dr. Calvin Mackie, STEM NOLA founder. “They’re going to understand power and transmission and how electricity gets from a power source to their home, and they’re actually going to measure the voltage going down transmission lines into their home.”
Blue Origin Senior Vice President of Strategy, Marketing & Sales, and Club for the Future Board President Michael Edmonds addresses parents, participants, and volunteers at the STEM NOLA Saturday Event in New Orleans East May 14, 2022. | Photo by Jennsen Bentley
"To all you parents and volunteers in this room, it is unbelievable what you are doing here, and what Calvin and Tracy are doing to get the community to support this and to drive this forward," said Michel Edmonds, Blue Origin Senior Vice President of Strategy, Marking & Sales, and Club for the Future Board President. "I've never seen anything like it, and I am absolutely in awe."
During the event, Dr. Mackie took a moment to congratulate Raleigh Brock, an 8th grader at Alice Harte Charter School. Using a science project created at STEM NOLA, Raleigh won her school science fair and first place in the junior division at the Louisiana Science and Engineering Fair (including a special award in the transportation category), and first place in the engineering division at the NAACP Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics (NAACP ACT-CO). She has now been selected to represent New Orleans at the national NAACP ACT-CO convention in Atlantic City, NJ in July.
“I created three cars using STEM NOLA equipment, and I positioned the solar panels differently. One of the cars had Popsicle sticks on it to make the solar panels higher, another one was slanted on the motor and the last one was flat on the top of the car. I experimented outside to see which one went fastest in a three-foot distance,” Brock explained. “It’s to show that if you use more solar energy you can help the environment more because we use gas a lot. If you use solar energy you can see how far it can take you. The more solar energy you use the better we can do for the environment.”
“We’re just proud of the fact that she took a STEM NOLA project that she built here, that she learned about here and she turned it into something bigger,” Mackie said. “That’s the possibilities for our children when they participate in events like this. We hear about it in sports, but now STEM NOLA is seeing the seeds that have been planted, and our kids are moving forward with the knowledge that they’ve acquired here to be able to compete all around the world.”
During the event, students created paper circuits, brush bots, edible circuits, a series-parallel circuit, a basketball court buzzer, a flashlight, and a stoplight. While the kids worked mainly independently, volunteers from Boeing, Entergy, and STEM NOLA were on hand to assist when needed.
A miniature neighborhood shows how electricity travels through transmission lines to homes. | Photo by Jennsen Bentley
"In the 21st century, our children will only have three options: they will take something, break something, and/or make something," Dr. Mackie told parents at the event. "We want to give our children the education, motivation, and inspiration to make something - make a living, make a life, make a difference... that's why we founded STEM NOLA."
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