NEW ORLEANS – STEM NOLA, a leading nonprofit organization focused on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, recently hosted its annual Rocket Day event. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD STEM) and The Boeing Company sponsored the event last Saturday at the UNO Lakefront Arena. The free three-hour event engaged over 450 K-12 students and caregivers, college and professional volunteers, and elected officials.
This event provided an opportunity for students to engage in a range of exhilarating activities that showcase the principles of rocketry and aerospace engineering. Student participants were able to assemble pop rockets, straw rockets, paper cup rockets, and rolled rockets, learn about rocket propulsion, trajectory, and thrust from professionals and college interns and even build and launch their very own model rockets. More than 100 volunteers from Boeing participated in the event.
“We are ecstatic to again team up with incredible partners and supporters to be able to bring Rocket Day to life,” said Dr. Calvin Mackie, Founder and CEO of STEM NOLA. “This event provides an immersive experience for students to explore and inspire them to pursue careers in STEM fields. Rocket Day is our launchpad to really ignite their passion for science and engineering. We want to fuel curiosity and show the next generation the limitless power of possibility.”
At the event, U.S. Congressman Troy Carter presented STEM NOLA with a $2 million federal grant. The grant funding will be used towards the STEM Innovation Hub for Black Excellence, which will house laboratory space, classrooms, meeting spaces and 21st century technology to expose, educate, train and connect students to STEM careers and skills. The state-of-the-art facility will be built in New Orleans East.
“STEM NOLA is recognized all over the world, but it started right here in New Orleans,” said Carter. “When you take complex subject matters such as math and science that have historically been stumbling blocks in the minority community, and make it easy and fun, that’s something special.”
The Boeing Company, a global leader in aerospace technology and innovation, is dedicated to fostering STEM education and inspiring young minds to pursue careers in science and engineering. Their partnership with STEM NOLA is a testament to their commitment to making a difference in the communities they serve.
“The STEM NOLA Rocket Day is one of my favorite events of the year!” said Steve Snell, Space Launch System Deputy Program Manager and Michoud Site Leader for Boeing. “Boeing is so proud to support this event and make STEM fun for the next generation of engineers, innovators, rocket scientists and dreamers.”
The 2023 event marks the 10th Rocket Day hosted by STEM NOLA. Since its founding in 2013, STEM NOLA has engaged more than 125,000 students, 20,000 families and 5,000 schools.