Dr. Calvin Mackie Credit: Contributed

The Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership (CPNL) at Georgetown University named Dr. Calvin Mackie, founder of STEM Global Action (SGA) and STEM NOLA, as an inaugural participant in the Micron Nonprofit Leaders of Color Fellowship.

In making the announcement honoring the work of the Micron Fellows, Robert Simmons, head of Social Impact and STEM Programs at the Micron Foundation, said that there has been a failure to provide equitable access to funding for leaders of color.

“It isn’t conjecture,” Simmons said. “Research by Echoing Green and Bridgespan tell the story. But more importantly, the voices of leaders of color tell the story. Their voices speak to the challenges but also embrace the beauty of their successes. It is time to move beyond DEI framing in philanthropy and the nonprofit sector…and make decisive steps towards justice. This is just one step in that effort, but I believe there is still more work to do.”

Georgetown University and the Micron Foundation awarded Dr. Mackie and seven other nonprofit leaders the fellowship, a program that will build the personal leadership of the participants, increase the capacity of their organizations, and strengthen their networks. Each winner receives a full tuition scholarship to attend the Spring 2023 Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program at Georgetown University, monthly meetings with an assigned mentor, participation in a peer learning cohort, and the opportunity to apply for up to $25,000 in general operating support from the Micron Foundation.

“I am honored to be chosen for this honor,” said Dr. Mackie. “We are creating something incredible at STEM Global Action. We are going into communities in New Orleans and across the country and working with K-12 students on STEM activities that get them interested in biology, medicine, engineering, math, and so many other STEM fields. More importantly, this is happening in their communities, in low-income, under-resourced areas where the experts said that it can’t be done. Our goal is No More Lost Einsteins! We are taking STEM learning to the people who need it most.”

Just last weekend, Dr. Mackie hosted a STEM Saturday in New Orleans where the SGA affiliate STEM NOLA “Powered by Entergy,” in partnership with Ochsner Health System, helped children learn about their heart and circulatory system, including how their pulse, blood flow, valves and chambers all work together to pump blood throughout their bodies.

The more than 150 children attending the event dissected sheep hearts, were exposed to technology with model hearts being printed on a 3-D printer, experienced the inside of the heart and circulatory system through virtual reality, and left with their own mechanical heart that they built. Healthcare professionals from Ochsner worked with students along with more than 75 medical students from Tulane University and LSU, as well as undergraduates from local colleges.

Over the last month alone, SGA has partnered with George Washington University for a STEM Saturday event in Alexandria, Va., with Department of Defense STEM, City of Gulfport and STEM Gulf Coast for an event in Gulfport, Miss. and with 21stCentED and Bridgeport Public Schools for an event in Bridgeport, Conn. At each of these big tradeshow-like events, up to 60 stations allow kids and their parents to engage in activities like operating a robot, building cars that run and drones that fly, watching a live sheep heart dissection, riding a hovercraft, and much more. Students learn and have fun. SGA trucks the stations to each location.

Like Simmons, Mackie has noted a need for more robust funding for nonprofits of color by the government and philanthropy.

“The experts gather around and talk about the disparities and the problems, but then they continue to provide the overwhelming amount of the funding to organizations that don’t know our communities and don’t know how to motivate and teach Black and brown children, especially in STEM fields,” Mackie said.

“We know how to do it and we are doing it week after week after week. And we have a model that can be scaled to communities coast to coast.”  

Mackie, a former tenured engineering professor at Tulane University, holds a bachelor of science in mathematics from Morehouse College, as well as a bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech.

ABOUT STEM GLOBAL ACTION

Dr. Calvin Mackie founded STEM NOLA in 2013. The New Orleans non-profit is committed to expanding STEM education, especially in communities of color. In July 2021, Dr. Mackie launched STEM Global Action, a campaign and network pursuing STEM education for children, parents, and communities. His initiatives have impacted more than 100,000 students, 20,000 families and 5,100 schools across the U.S., and in five countries. Dr. Mackie hosts a popular podcast, Let’s Talk STEM with Dr. Calvin Mackie. 

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