The DoD STARBASE 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. National Guard personnel demonstrated the use of science, mathematics, engineering, and technology in their fields of expertise and served as role models to the attending students.
In FY 1993, the U.S. Congress appropriated funds for DoD STARBASE and piloted 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.