STARBASE STEM Campus Opens in Indianapolis

By Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Lowry

Indiana National Guard

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 20, 2015 – The Indiana National Guard hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the STARBASE Indianapolis campus at Stout Field here today.

Cold Spring School students and officials cut the ribbon to officially open the STARBASE Indianapolis campus, Feb. 20, 2015. Indiana National Guard photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Lowry

Cold Spring School students and officials cut the ribbon to officially open the STARBASE Indianapolis campus, Feb. 20, 2015. Indiana National Guard photo by Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Lowry

The Defense Department-sponsored STARBASE program is a nationwide science-, technology-, engineering- and math-based program for fifth-grade students. STARBASE is an acronym which stands for science technology academies reinforcing basic aviation space exploration.

There are approximately 60 STARBASE campuses nationwide. The program has graduated approximately one million students over the last 20 years.

Expansion of Program

“They can all dream if you give them the opportunity, and that’s what STARBASE does,” retired Indiana Air National Guard Col. David Augustine, currently the Senior Vice President of Business Development for STRYKE Industries, said in a speech during the ceremony. Augustine was instrumental in opening the academy in Fort Wayne, Indiana, when he was the commander of the 122nd Fighter Wing.

STARBASE Indiana opened in Fort Wayne more than three years ago with more than 3,000 graduates and is expanding to the Indianapolis region to continue the successes of the first Indiana location. The new campus will reach more than 900 students annually with its unique blend of experiential learning.

Other guest speakers during the ceremony included Air Force Brig. Gen. Jeffrey W. Hauser, the assistant adjutant general, air, for the Indiana National Guard, and Barbara Koscak, who founded STARBASE in 1993.

Program Supports Nationwide STEM Efforts

STARBASE supports national education efforts to encourage young students’ participation in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines, she said.

“There is nothing more precious than our children and the future of our country depends on the quality of life and education that we provide for them here and now,” Koscak said. “STEM is a vital part of our hopeful future. And more than any other subjects we have for our children to learn, STEM is going to determine what our children inherit tomorrow.”

STARBASE Indianapolis recently started classes for area fifth-graders. One local principal heard about the program last year, did some research on it, and was sold.

“I saw it as a great opportunity to get students engaged and excited about science and math,” said Carrie Scott, Cold Spring School principal. “Any opportunity to get students excited about science and math is an opportunity we want to be a part of.”