STARBASE: Porterville’s launchpad for STEAM exploration

The new DoD STARBASE location at Porterville Military Academy.(Karis Caddell)

Community gets a look at recently launched STARBASE Porterville, a program that educates young minds through hands-on science, math and art activities

PORTERVILLE – Amidst the bustle of an open house event, curious onlookers recently ventured into the realm of STARBASE, a STEAM-based program that aims to shine a guiding star on local students.

On April 19, community members and public officials caught a glimpse of the STARBASE facility at Porterville Military Academy during an open house event. After the opening ceremony, STARBASE instructors gave guided tours of the facilities, where teachers and students alike demonstrated and explained lessons to attendees.

“Programs like STARBASE are so critically important to making sure…(there are) learning opportunities for young people where they can be exposed to the fundamental magic that is science, technology, engineering, the arts, architecture,” Major General Matthew P. Beevers said at the ceremony.

The DoD (U.S. Department of Defense) STARBASE officially kicked off in January, and teaches kids through “hands-on, minds-on” activities that delve deep into the realms of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Architecture and Math (STEAM). Guided by military personnel, students learn firsthand the practical applications of STEAM concepts in the world around them.

The program offers students experiments and exercises in chemistry, robotics, physics, design and aviation. The curriculum does this by having students interact with these topics through lessons like designing their own Mars Base, flight simulators, making rockets as well as making boats and testing their buoyancy.

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Students presenting Congressman David Valadeo’s representative with a token of appreciation at the DoD STARBASE open house ceremony. (Karis Caddell)

“STARBASE Porterville is unique in that most starbases are established on military installations, giving students the opportunity to associate STEAM…with both military and government service,” STARBASE Director Captain Rene J. Martin said.

Martin added that the Porterville STARBASE is particularly unique because it is based at a local school district site, whereas most STARBASE programs are based at a state or federal military base.

“The team that comprise the STARBASE portable has done the work to birth this program into existence,” Martin said. “The raising of STARBASE into the future relies on how well we collaborate as a community and create our steam pipeline.”

STARBASE is designed to reach people who might traditionally find themselves on the edge of STEAM opportunities. Porterville is only one of the program’s 81 locations as it continues to extend its reach to students from inner cities, rural areas and those facing socio-economic challenges.

For young minds, DoD STARBASE offers more than just a curriculum—it is a catalyst for change, inspiring them to dream big, set goals and overcome obstacles on their path to success, according to the program. It is sponsored by the U.S. Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

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