STARBASE in Helena pilots new Summer Academy

Mariah Thomas

Helena’s STARBASE offered a new Summer Academy camp this summer for students in the Helena area who didn’t get to attend its programs during the academic year. 

Each year, STARBASE has a week-long program for all of Helena’s fifth grade students, bringing them all to Fort Harrison. The program, which is nationally funded by the Department of Defense, focuses on science, engineering, technology and math. 

“STEM is important for innovation for the military, for the country, the economy, jobs, being on the cutting edge of coming up on what’s new in terms of employment opportunities for kids,” said Mike Vannatta, the director of STARBASE at Fort Harrison. “The U.S.A. has kind of fallen behind the curve when it comes to students who are prepared to enter STEM fields in college and stay in STEM fields and go on to do STEM.”

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So, the answer for the Department of Defense was STARBASE, with an aim to expose young kids and get them excited about STEM. 

Typically, it targets its efforts toward title schools – that is, those where more than 40% of students qualify for free

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