Goodfellow and San Angelo sign STARBASE Memorandum

SAN ANGELO, Texas -- Goodfellow Air Force Base and the San Angelo community came together to implement STARBASE, a Department of Defense youth program, at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, Aug. 11.

The STARBASE program focuses on elementary students, primarily in the fifth grade, with the goal being to motivate them to explore science, technology, engineering and math fields as they continue their education.

“This is an opportunity for each of us to build stepping stones for young people who will be our leaders,” said Sonny Cleere, San Angelo civic leader.

The program engages students through hands-on experiential activities. The course work ranges from the study of Newton's Laws to Bernoulli's principle. Through the program they also learn to apply their knowledge using computers to design space stations, drive all-terrain vehicles and submersibles.

Goodfellow service members will teach the program and the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts will help facilitate.

“Over the next school year all 5th graders will receive STEM education,” said Col. Jeffrey Sorrell, 17th Training Wing vice commander.

Math is central throughout the curriculum and students use metric measurement, estimation, calculation geometry and data analysis to solve questions. Teamwork is integral as they work together to explore, explain, elaborate and evaluate concepts.

The program first originated in Detroit, Michigan as Project STARS in 1991. The curriculum, designed by Barbara Koscak and Rick Simms, focused on exposing at-risk youth, (4-6 grade) to innovative hands-on activities in science, technology and mathematics based on the physics of flight. Under the guidance of Brig. Gen. David Arendts, 127th wing commander at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, students were invited to Selfridge to participate and witness the application of scientific concepts in a “real world” setting.

In 1993, the U.S. Congress appropriated funds for the program in seven states. There are locations spread across the United States and its territories. To accommodate the growing demand for additional STEM programs, a structured after school mentoring program, STARBASE 2.0, for middle school students was piloted in 2010 at five locations. The program’s success relies on collaboration between the sponsoring military unit and STARBASE Academy, the school district, and local communities. The goal is for each STARBASE Academy to sponsor a 2.0 program.

“STARBASE is a DoD program that partners with military bases and their local communities to provide STEM on the base,” said Sorrell. “Today was the official signing of the memorandum of agreement so we can officially kick off the program.”

The memorandum was signed into effect by Col. Ricky Mills, 17th Training Wing commander, and Howard Taylor, San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts director.

For more information about STARBASE visit: