BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Eric Lewis loved engineering from the moment his parents brought their family’s first computer.

Lewis said, “I took typing and computer programming classes in school. So, whenever my parents had issues with our computer, I helped. I always liked taking things apart and putting them back together.”

As the son of a chemical operator at a local plant, it was almost inevitable that Lewis would go on to become an engineer.

But he took his interest in science, technology, engineering and math one step further. Lewis used his knowledge and abilities to give back to his community.

In the fall of 2019, he opened Baton Rouge STEM, an organization that works with the capital area’s low-resource schools to provide students with in-classroom and after-school STEM-related courses.

Lewis said, “The schools may not have a full-time robotics teacher. So, we bring in the resources they need.”

How STEM relates to everyday life

“I was exposed to STEM-related careers growing up. That’s what made me interested in it,” Lewis said.

Now, he wants to give local children that same opportunity through BRSTEM.

“We try to illustrate for kids how STEM exists in their everyday lives in ways they probably never thought about,” Lewis explained.

He and his team use lessons students are already learning in their other classes to show how STEM relates to those particular assignments. That way, students realize STEM doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Instead, it’s a key aspect of daily life.

“We have a lot of success with our coding workshop and our robotics workshop. The kids really like when we bring robots to the lessons and use them to show that car manufacturers and even hospitals use robots. These are things that they can use in everyday life.”

His organization’s motto is appropriate: “Life is STEM and STEM is life.”

Image Credit: BRSTEM

Upcoming events

This spring, BRSTEM is hosting a series of neighborhood-focused STEM festivals that are designed to be educational and fun.

The events will take place in partnership with the Recreation and Park Commission for the Parish of East Baton Rouge, or BREC. 

“We see this in a synergistic way.  It is a great opportunity to bring STEM programming to neighborhoods across our community through our park system.  We are grateful for BREC’s vision and foresight,” Lewis said. 

The festivals are scheduled to take place for the next four Saturdays. Event organizers said each will feature multiple hands-on STEM activities that are designed to inspire participants to view STEM as a possible career path.

Southeast Festival
Forest Community Park
April 22, 2023
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Zachary Festival
Church Street Park
April 29, 2023
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Mid-City Festival
Independence Park
May 6, 2023
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Central Festival
Jackson Park
May 13, 2023
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Source: BRSTEM

Families can pre-register for the festivals by visiting or calling (225) 286-7225.