100 - Robert W. Crawford Lecture: Hope for the 21st Century-STEM! The New Recreation

Tuesday, September 26
1:00 PM–2:15 PM

Location: Room RO1

Days: Tuesday, 26 September
Track: Leadership & Management
Session Type: Education Session

In the 21st century, one of America’s greatest challenges will be motivating, educating, and training a technical workforce to ensure that we can compete and thrive globally. On the world stage Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are the new intellectual and innovative currencies.  In this session, we will delve into how the National Parks and Recreation Association can motivate, inspire and train an entire generation of Americans to become STEM literate in general, and to pursue STEM careers specifically. We will discuss how NRPA can better deploy its resources to facilitate this movement. As importantly, we will cover how you, as individuals, can expose, empower, and educate students in your communities to stoke their passion for STEM. There is an obvious tie in to environmental conservation which is at the core of NRPA’s mission. STEM can be more than that within the NRPA. America needs to engage all of her citizenry in traditional as well as innovative non-traditional ways, during school and out of school time. We believe that you are perfectly positioned to STEMulate young minds.


In order to ensure all of our citizens are prepared for the 21st century, STEM activities must become as ubiquitous and accessible as football, basketball, and other sports. If students have access to sports in and out of school, then it is imperative that they have access to STEM also. Students should be able to show up to recreation facilities in their community; play sports, perform the arts, and build rockets, robots, and motors, or learn 3-D printing and coding. STEM must become the new recreation for the 21st century! You will walk away from this session confident in your ability and capacity to use the resources within your public spaces to pave the way to this new paradigm.

Considering the magnitude of current economic and social change, the rapid evolution of a knowledge-based/driven economy and the demographic pressures resulting from an aging and diversifying population, lifelong learning has to be the focal point of basic training and educational programs. Attendees will be challenged to re-examine the nature, purpose, and direction of education and recreation programming in their parks and recreational facilities.

In 2013, Dr. Mackie founded STEM NOLA, a non-profit organization founded to expose, inspire, and engage communities about the opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the communities of New Orleans. STEM NOLA has partnered with the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission and has engaged over 10,000 K-12 New Orleans students in hands-on project based STEM activities in recreational facilities across the city.

CEU Credits: 0.1