STARBASE Minnesota Celebrates Duluth Expansion

DULUTH, Minn. – Two years after doubling their space, STARBASE Minnesota celebrated the expansion of their Duluth facility.

COVID prevented community and business partners from seeing it until Tuesday, which included a ribbon cutting and a dedication from the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce.  The over 7,000 square feet at the 148th Fighter Wing includes four classrooms and staff office space.

Since starting in 2017, the non-profit has seen more than 7-thousand fifth grade students from across northeast Minnesota take part in summer camps and week-long courses during the school year, focused on how STEM education can help solve real life problems.

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“Our staff, our advisory board, and countless industry partners in the region are dedicated to the continuous innovation, program expansion, and filling STEM to workforce pipeline in the years to come,” says Director Charity Johnson.

Ian Vincent, Senior Business Developer and Economic Development for APEX, says helping to support STARBASE gives students a chance to learn more about skill sets that will help them find work in the future.  “Being dedicated to its future, and it’s clearing rising to that challenge, but we’ve got to continue to step up as these students are leaving the STARBASE program.  We have to keep expanding programs in STEM, expanding exposure to employers.”

Three students who have taken part in the past, Sarah Chan, Ella Hadiaris, and Zoe Pierson, spoke during the celebration.  Each shared a message of thanks for the opportunity that was provided to them through the Minnesota National Guard, the Department of Defense, and the volunteers.

“I believe that other students will like STARBASE for its different activities and inspiring teachers,” says Hadiaris.  “When I was in 4th grade I was very discouraged in my math class, but now math is one of my favorite subjects.  I think STARBASE and my teachers helped me with that, and helped me enjoy science and math more.  I really enjoyed my time here, and I’m so glad I was able to be a part of it.  Thank you.”

Sign up is ongoing for STARBASE’s summer programs, which will see students learn more about rocket engineering, CAD design, rover programming, and earth science investigation and exploration.  People who do sign up a child are asked to contribute at least $100 towards funding the program in the future.

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