‘This program is exactly why I got into teaching’: STARBASE celebrates 20th anniversary

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The STARBASE Louisiana 2.0 program celebrated it’s 20th Anniversary Tuesday evening at a special open house on Barksdale Air Force Base. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

The STARBASE Louisiana 2.0 program celebrated it’s 20th Anniversary Tuesday evening at a special open house on Barksdale Air Force Base. 

Hosted by the 307th Bomb Wing and Air Force Reserve Command, the celebration marked a culmination of effort. At its conception 20 years ago, STARBASE opened its doors to a few students from the local community. The program, located on Barksdale Air Force Base, now has 2,500 students come through each year, including all Bossier Parish fifth graders.

STARBASE is a leader in STEM education that inspires youth to strive for excellence in the STEM areas and motivates them to pursue high tech jobs.

A student project is displayed for attendees of the STARBASE Louisiana program anniversary open house on Barksdale Air Force Base June 4. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

Completing her second year as a STARBASE instructor, Christine Bias, said she is very fortunate to be able to experience as a parent and instructor, how the STARBASE program gets students excited about STEM.  

“Before taking the job at STARBASE, my child went through the program. So, I saw from a parent’s point of view how much my child grew and learned from this experience,” Bias said. “Now, as a teacher working here at STARBASE, I get to see how many lives we can change in a mere 25 hours. It is the most soul replenishing thing I could have ever experienced. This program is exactly why I got into teaching.”

STARBASE Louisiana teaches students STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) by applying a science-based design to then engineer and build a prototype through an exciting 25-hour hands-on, minds-on STEMcourse. There are four labs for each principle of STEM with their own lessons. For instance, in the Technology lab, students start by using and learn how to use the same soft wear that Nike, Nasa, Toyota and John Deere use.

Finishing up his first year as a STARBASE instructor, Tyler Spears, said the biggest lesson the students learn through the program is how to work together as a team to solve problems.

“The biggest thing that they learn is working collaboratively towards solving problems that they did not expect,” Spears said. “The true compassion from the teachers is how we make this all happen. It really is the best staff in the world.”

Also, STARBASE LA recently received the highest designation award from the U.S. Department of Defense — they are now recognized as a Level III Program.

For further information about the program, please go to http://www.dodstarbase.org/.