Dr. Calvin Mackie has four degrees in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). So it was quite a surprise when one of his sons confessed a disinterest in STEM — his teacher taught to the board, and he didn’t see how STEM worked in the real world.

Dr. Mackie started conducting hands-on experiments in his garage with his sons. Before he knew it, the entire neighborhood was lined up to build a boat and learn about density, play instruments to learn about the physics of sound or play with models of the human heart.

STEM NOLA grew out of Dr. Mackie’s garage into a regional powerhouse of experiential learning for students across disciplines. Through STEM Saturdays, STEM NOLA@Home and tens of thousands of students learning and playing along, Dr. Mackie has grown a movement of young people following their curiosity and exploring the world around them, piquing interest in careers as builders and makers.

As Dr. Mackie says, our children can take something, break something or make something — STEM NOLA teaches the skills needed to make something and build a brighter future together.