A Letter from L. John MacMartin

Sometime in 2006, the spouses of both Wing Commanders at Minot Air Force Base requested a meeting with me and the Chair of the Board of the Chamber. Their topic of conversation was DoD STARBASE, and I quickly learned that DoD STARBASE was all about STEM programs.

DoD STARBASE is a program that hopefully would light a fire in the hearts and minds of the 5th grade students that took part in it. It could show them how science, technology, engineering and math were applicable in the everyday world. The fact that Minot Air Force Base was near the town and that the airmen would help to teach components of the classes was the icing on the cake.

The path to get Minot DoD STARBASE started was not without hurdles to overcome. Suffice to say that we leapt over each hurdle and soon the big day arrived. The entire Congressional Delegation was there, the Mayor, the Minot Superintendent of Schools, the Wing Commanders and their spouses and many other dignitaries. A ribbon was cut, and Minot had a DoD STARBASE program.

The Minot DoD STARBASE program has served 5th grade students within about an hour’s drive from Minot Air Force Base, and it has been well received. The advent of the congressional continuing resolutions and the threatened shut down of the federal government did put a hiccup into the continuity of the DoD STARBASE here in Minot. The reality was we lost a year’s worth of program operations and over 540 students missed a fabulous opportunity to be exposed to STEM through Minot DoD STARBASE. The new reality is that all parties to the program wanted to see it restarted and to succeed long term. I am pleased to report that DoD STARBASE in Minot is back up, running, and challenging the 5th grade youth of our area.

The Minot Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to have been part of the start of the program and is even more pleased to have helped push to get the right answers to restart the program this year.