STARBASE Expands to Reach 1,000 More Students

Emily Ness
Updated: November 06, 2019 06:22 PM

Through science, technology, engineering and math, STARBASE’s ‘hands on,’ ‘minds on’ program allows kids to discover the wonders of the world. Since coming to Duluth in 2017, STARBASE has reached it’s capacity—calling for an expansion from two classrooms to four classrooms.


“Right now we’re serving just under 1500 students, but with four classrooms, we’ll be poised to serve over 2400 students from a much broader region around Minnesota,” Charity Johnson, Director of STARBASE Minnesota in Duluth said.

On Wednesday, the 148th Fighter Wing broke ground for what will be two new STARBASE classrooms. This will allow them to serve an additional 1000 kids around the Northland.

“We have so many industries that involve STEM. We have aviation, we have medical information, technology, manufacturing, mining—so many of those employers will be looking for students just like ours that will be interested in STEM careers such as theirs,” Johnson said.

The program invites 5th graders from around the region to work with classmates to solve real world problems using cutting edge technology. It lasts for one week.

“It is just a wow factor. We just have so many company partners that are involved in making the experience so exciting for kids that even as adults, you wish you could go back and fourth and fifth and sixth grade all over again to have this experience,” Brigadier General Sandy Best said.

With their expansion, STARBASE hopes to inspire even more kids to pursue careers in STEM—filling a workforce gap.

“They may go into career fields and do something really spectacular for this country and our world in the STEM field,” Representative Pete Stauber of Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District said.

STARBASE will serve the school districts of Esko, Carlton, Moose Lake, Cloquet, Proctor and Hermantown, as well as, Fond du Lac Ojibwe School home school students, local private schools and the Edison charter schools.

“Hey, you have to dream big, you know, lets dream big. These kids, you know, we talk about going to the moon again and mars and I mean that’s right around the corner for us so to speak and the field of STEM can help us get there and not only that, but they’re going to help us in our every day lives,” Stauber said.

The nearly two million dollar expansion project will be made possible by business partnerships and private investments.

“To be able to have them continue that opportunity and grow into our future pilots and engineers and scientists and doctors and nurses—that’s really what the program is all about,” Best said.


Emily Ness

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