Urban Heroes 2023 Honorees Announcement

Urban Heroes 2023 Awards Luncheon will be held Friday Oct. 6th, 11:30A-1:30P at the Walnut Room in the Lakefront Airport

We will be recognizing honorees for their role in creating a more vibrant and resilient New Orleans. 

Urban Heroes 2023 Honorees

Dinah Maygarden

Director, UNO Coastal Education Program; Pontchartrain Institute of Environmental Science

Karen Marshall

Director of Professional Development, STEM Library Lab; Science Curriculum Coordinator and Director of Field Experiences, Krewe of Red Beans; Assistant Marine Educator, LUMCON

Sage Michael Pellet

Climate Justice Organizer, Healthy Gulf



Date: Friday, October 6th
Time: 11:30AM – 1:30PM
Location: Walnut Room, Lakefront Airport
  6001 Stars and Stripes Blvd | New Orleans LA 70126

Honoree Bios

Dinah Maygarden

Dinah Maygarden is Research Associate and Director of Coastal Education Program at the Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental Sciences at the University of New Orleans. She received a B.Sc. from the University of Wales and a M.A., Science Teaching from the University of New Orleans.

Since 1997 she has worked at UNO implementing educational projects for K-12 and adult audiences in New Orleans to connect students to the coastal zone in which they live. Ms. Maygarden brings real world, relevant science problems to teachers and K-12 students, as well as adult learners. She hosts field-based workshops for these audiences at UNO’s Shea Penland Coastal Education and Research Facility (CERF) and elsewhere. Dinah develops partnerships with many community organizations to enhance the impact of and fund these programs.

While implementing NOAA BWET grants over recent years, Dinah has worked with teachers and students in several charter schools in New Orleans to develop place-based education (through NOAA’s Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences model). This work has cemented close relationships with educators such as Karen Marshall and partners such as the Urban Conservancy.

Most recently she has focused on schools in New Orleans east, including Einstein Schools and Lake Forest Charter and has recently received funding from the National Academies of Science to continue this work for another two years, bringing new schools and community partners, such as the Urban Conservancy, Civic Studio, Sageville, and Song CDC together.

Karen Marshall

Karen Marshall has been teaching science for 18 years. As the State standards have begun to change to phenomenon-based learning with a focus on project and field based teaching, Ms. Marshall has been leading the lower school students (K-5) and teachers in this pursuit of collaborative change, while continuing to inspire her 8th grade scientists.

As of May 2022, Karen has transitioned to non-traditional education with a focus on inquiry-based learning in the field of environmental science. Her goal is to widen her sphere of influence and bring quality science programming, and exposure to environmental science careers to as many students and teachers in the New Orleans area as her time will allow.

In 2019, she received the District award from Shell and NSTA’s lab challenge and the Chairman award from American Petroleum Institute. Karen is also a board member of Ripple Effect and Feed the Second Line, community organizations that focus on the Youth and Culture of the City of New Orleans.

Karen serves on the Praise Team at her local Celebration Church. She served as a Judge at this year’s Aspen Challenge, presented by the Bezos Foundation. The Challenge encourages students of today to institute STEM skills to solve problems in climate change, community discourse, and environmental issues. Karen is a mentor to several young people in the community staying connected with former students that have chosen future careers in STEM.

Sage Michael Pellet

Sage Michael Pellet was born and raised in New Orleans. Since graduating from McMain in 1992 and attending SUNO, UNO and Robert Morris University, as well as Sidney N. Collier Votech, Sage has been a barber, mentor, and community advocate in many ways. From the cultural community to Criminal System reform, to advocating for the restoration of Lincoln Beach as cofounder of the nonprofit New Orleans for Lincoln Beach, his passion for and commitment to the community builds integrity and credibility as a community ally.

The combination of his education and experience in New Orleans has made him a recognized community leader advocating for improved quality of life and economic empowerment for the community. His latest position with Healthy Gulf as the New Orleans Climate Justice organizer expands his environmental justice work, inspiring and empowering community members in efforts to increase inclusiveness, equity, and decision-making in civic engagement. Sage is guided by these principles: “Let your light shine before men, do not hide your light under a bushel, God takes care of the bird in the tree, God will take care of me”; and a constant prayer: “Lord give us this day on Earth as it is in Heaven.” Sage is an outspoken voice, from appearing on church programs to being called to speak for the community, to bringing all walks of people together to improve the community of New Orleans which he loves.

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