Community STEM Café Offers Fun,

Community STEM Café Offers Fun, Educational Outing for Local Families
Posted on 01/29/2019
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Community STEM Café Offers Fun,

Educational Outing for Local Families 

Livingston Parish’s STEAM Express Popular Among Participants

WALKER, La. –  More than 200 students and their parents gathered at the Livingston Parish Literacy & Technology Center on Saturday (Jan. 26) morning to engage in learning activities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math through a variety of hands-on games, exercises and demonstrations – many of which were made available by the Livingston Parish STEAM Express.

The Community STEM Café was presented by a variety of STEM educational and professional groups from Southeastern Louisiana University, the Northshore Technical & Community College, the State of Louisiana, Livingston Parish Public Schools and independent STEM educational groups.

Wendy Conarro, SLU’s assistant director of Math Science Upward Bound, said the SLU STEM Coalition sponsors STEM Cafés each month across the Florida Parishes region, teaming up with parish school districts and local business sponsors to offer free participation to local families.

“Our STEM Cafés generate an increased interest in learning, and they give parents an opportunity to participate in fun, educational activities with their children, while learning how to further grow their child’s development in STEM-based fields,” Conarro said.

Livingston Parish Schools Instructional Technology Facilitator Nikki Lavergne said the local turnout for the event, which is the first to be held in Livingston Parish, exceeded expectations, including the popularity and demand for access to the STEAM Express, which is a mobile learning laboratory that is equipped with learning activities for students and parents.  The mobile classroom can be customized to focus on any field of learning and adapted for any age group.

“We were starting to worry if we could manage the number of students who showed up. But that’s a good problem,” Lavergne laughed.   “It’s just so exciting to see our students engage in the learning activities, and then to have their parents engage in the activities with them and they leave with plans to seek out more educational materials on their favorite subjects.”

Christine Bull said her fourth-grade son, Wyatt, is a “science bug,” who recently won first-place at Albany Upper Elementary School’s science fair.  She said she learned about the STEM Café through announcements at the school and the district’s electronic Journal.  She said her family recently relocated to Livingston Parish from Oregon.

“This is such a fun thing to do for the entire family,” Bull said.  “It’s something we can do as a family, and there are activities for all age groups.”

Shane Landry said he and his wife brought their three children, Matthew (9), Molly (7) and Max (5), who are all students at South Live Oak Elementary, because they thought it would be fun.

“This event is awesome, and it offers a lot of fun stuff to do with the kids,” Landry said.  “Plus, these activities peak the kids’ interest in science, giving them something to look forward to learning more about in school and maybe giving them ideas about what they may want to do for a career.”

Matthew Landry quickly responded to his dad, “I want to be a chemical and electrical engineer,” he said, as they worked together inside the STEAM Express to construct a battery-powered circuit panel to spin a small plastic propeller.

Souad Henni said she too brought her three children – Wascom, a 5-year-old preschooler, and Mohamed, a fourth-grader, at Juban Parc Elementary; and Khadija, a sixth-grader at Juban Parc Junior High – so they can be exposed to new and exciting things.

“I try to give them choices so they can determine what they like,” Henni said.  “Besides, if I do nothing with them, then they will just stay at home on the couch, and that’s not what I want. I want them to learn and have fun.”


Albany Upper Elementary Fourth-Grader Wyatt Bull shows his 4-year-old sister, Dakota, how to use air pressure to launch a rocket made from a plastic drinking straw during the STEM Café on Saturday at the Livingston Parish Literacy & Technology Center in Walker.


Shane Landry works with his two sons, 5-year-old Max Landry and 9-year-old Matthew Landry, students at South Live Oak Elementary, aboard the STEAM Express on Saturday to construct a battery-powered circuit panel to spin a small plastic propeller. 


Notice of Discrimination

The Livingston Parish School Board does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, religion, national origin, disability or gender in its educational programs and activities (including employment and application for employment), and it is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of gender by Title IX (20 USC 168) and on the basis of disability by Section 504 (42 USC 794). The Title IX Coordinator is Stephen Parrill

Livingston Parish Public Schools is committed to ensuring that all websites and web applications, both public-facing and for internal use, conform to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (W.C.A.G.) 2.0 Level AA. Any issues should be reported (, Assistant Superintendent, P.O. Box 1130, Livingston, LA 70754; Phone (225) 686-7044. The Special Education Director is Dr. Eric Penalber (; the LPPS 504 Coordinator is Marcia McKnight (, P.O. Box 1130 Livingston, LA 70754; Phone (225)686-4248.

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