The North Louisiana Community Enhancement Corporation made the cut for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 2013 Summer of Innovation mini-award selections on July 11.
Only two Louisiana programs were selected for the NASA Summer of Innovation Mini-Award opportunity. The Council For Quality Education (DBA Lake Forest Elementary Charter School) of New Orleans and NLCEC headquartered at Bastrop. both received NASA grants.

Introduction to Rocketry and Robotics, both Summer of Innovation themes, will feature technology and a rigorous math component. The summer program will be held in late July or early August at the NLCED learning center in Bastrop. The NLCEC NASA sponsored program features Sage Group America, Inc., as the instruction partner for the three-day training event designed for NLCED's after-school program teachers, mentors, tutors and participating students. “We have identified an urgent need to integrate STEM subject tutoring with additional technology training for our staff of teachers and volunteers to cause a digital transformation in our approach to serving at risk students,” NLCEC Founder/President Payne Montgomery said. NLCEC's local technology consultant, Sage Group America, is also the STEM education provider for Louisiana State University's LA GEAR UP-STEM Summer Transition Program. “It is a blessing to partner with Henry Cotton and Sage Group America because of their strong track record in providing STEM education training at the highest level,” Montgomery added. Specifically, this training serves NLCEC teachers and tutors as well as selected students and is designed to serve as a foundation for future learning. The program introduces design software such as Geogebra and Autodesk Inventor 3D CAD software. Additionally, the training provides work sessions featuring the Casio FX 115 ES Plus scientific calculator. The program workshops will explore a plan to develop a two-dimensional version of the robot arm using Geogebra as well as a three-dimensional version of a robot arm using Autodesk. This training will serve as the first step in the learning progression that focuses on the concepts necessary to explore robotics and rocketry design processes. The three-day workshop will examine motion planning and mobile mechanisms for robotics and trigonometry and elementary calculus used in rocket trajectory. Model rockets will be launched only after using physics to predict flight characteristics. The Summer of Innovation supports student interest in STEM by strengthening the capacity of community and school-based organizations that inspire and engage middle school students in STEM content during the summer. The program then continues to support follow-on and extended learning efforts designed to keep students involved in NASA-themed STEM activities during the academic year. In all, NASA has selected more than 170 educational organizations nationwide to receive these mini-awards of as much as $2,500 each. The mini-awards are designed to engage a wide variety of educational partners- such as museums, schools or school districts, and youth organizations- to infuse STEM content in existing summer and after-school students programs. To view the complete list of Summer of Innovation mini-award recipients, visit