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A hands-on, minds-on STEM education program

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DoD STARBASE Wisconsin Academy celebrates two milestones in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program’s history. Fiscal Year 2017 is a dynamic year for the STEM program observing its fifth anniversary and the 5,000th student to graduate from the academy.

DoD STARBASE Wisconsin is a youth development program of the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs, Air National Guard which is funded by the Department of Defense (DoD). The program’s mission is to expose our nation's youth to the technological environments and positive civilian and military role models found on Active, Guard, and Reserve military bases and installations, nurture a winning network of collaborators and build mutual loyalty within our communities, by providing 25 hours of exemplary hands-on instruction that meet or exceed the National Standards.

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Natanael Morales, Jr. is the 5,000th academy graduate. He is a student from Marvin E. Pratt Elementary School in Ms. Katherine Crivello and Ms. Lois Womack’s fifth grade class. Ms. Crivello explains, "STARBASE allows for students to receive hands-on experiences dealing with experiments and materials we are not able to provide them with in the classroom. It promotes growth in math and science, and builds student's curiosity about future careers."

Natanael likes to work on the computer and participating in hands-on experiments and activities. He participated in science experiments when he made volcanoes with his fourth grade teacher. He enjoys studying math and being creative. He speaks fondly of his STARBASE experience, "I loved all of the different experiments that we did in class, shooting off rockets was really exciting. I'm excited to have my rover have been 3-D printed." His parents, Mr. Natanel Morales and Ms. Suzanne Tally, were present at a ceremony on Monday, September 18th to celebrate this milestone.

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Natanael Morales received special gifts to provide him with the means to extend his study of STEM education beyond his time at our academy. A special thanks to the Air National Guard, Army Reserve, American Science and Surplus, Brian Ewenson, and the Museum of Science and Industry for donating science experiments and learning experiences for Nathanael Morales and his classmates.

Starbase5yr4Pictured is a 3-D printed model of Nathanael's firefighting rover. STARBASE Academy graduates participate in 3.5 hours of digital modeling of vehicles ready for missions in space, water, or on land. The modeling is done with a Computer Aided Design (CAD) program as part of the engineering lessons.

STARBASE educators serve fifth grade students in 72 schools in the Milwaukee and Menominee Indian School Districts. Below is a snapshot of the youth population served in these districts.
85% of Tier 1 students qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch.
Ethnicity – 65% African American/Black, 12% Other Ethnicity, 12% Hispanic/Latino, 9% Caucasian, and 2% Asian
Gender – 50% Male, 48% Female.

The 2016 – 2017 school year marks many STARBASE firsts for the Wisconsin program. See the hyperlinks below more details.

  • Developed an afterschool program for teenage pilots. The STARBASE 2.0 Aviators’ Club, immerses students in the world of aviation through 30 hours of instruction by volunteer pilots serving as mentors and STARBASE educators. The program included an abbreviated Ground School based on the Federal Aviation Administration’s Private Pilot requirements and Flight Performance Training with Flight Simulators.
  • Established a non-profit organization. STARBASE Wisconsin, Incorporated was created to provide additional financial support for programs. Learn more about ways to support their mission by sponsoring a youth Aviator to attend an overnight experience at the EAA Airventure Museum.
  • Mobile STEM academy lands in Northern Wisconsin. Staff also served 25 youth from the Menominee Indian Tribe in Keshena earlier this year which was their first academy offered outside of Southeastern Wisconsin.
  • Recognized among their STEM Education peers. They received an Excellence in STEM Award Winner for Partnerships! The Partnership STEMMY is awarded to an organization whose educational outreach efforts, in partnership with local schools demonstrates a unique approach and/or unparalleled commitment to promoting STEM awareness and improving the STEM competency of K-12 students.
To learn more about the DoD STARBASE WI program in Wisconsin, visit https://dma.wi.gov/DMA/starbase or contact John Puttre, Director-STARBASE Wisconsin, via email at or telephone at (414)535-5786.

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