August Newsletter

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The Director's Corner

It has been a busy summer for the STARBASE ROBINS staff. We are thankful for our partners and collaborators that allowed us to reach many students not only in Middle Georgia but in the region. We opened our summer partnering with Hancock County Library and the Hancock County 4H Club to bring the STARBASE experience to Hancock County middle school students. This opportunity afforded students who live in a rural community to experience a hands-on STEM Summer Academy.

Three members of the STARBASE ROBINS staff traveled to Broward County, Florida to faciliate a four day STEM Summer Academy with the Broward County JROTC STEM Leadership Summit. Over 80 high school JROTC cadet leaders experienced rocket building and the dynamics of rocketry. The staff immensely enjoyed the time with the cadets in our efforts to initiate our STARBASE 3.0 Program.

We collaborated with our long-term partner The Fort Valley State University on their new project that focuses on high school students interested in the teaching profession. Fort Valley State University initiated the Academy of Future Teachers (AFT) to foster student's interest in teaching.

We ended the summer with our two week STARBASE ROBINS STEM Adventures Summer Academy. The academy was divided into STEMpowered GIrls and Super STEM Boys. The academy's participants will continue their learning beyond the two weeks with two planned Saturday Sparks.

The success of our summer academies would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our staff. We spend alot of time developing the content, curriculum, and planning the activities to ensure all students have a great STEM experience. We hope you will take the time to read about our summer academies in this newsletter.

Wesley Fondal Jr.,

Executive Director

Partnerships in STEM Education Matter

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Written by: Tangie Franks, Project Manager

Our work as a Department of Defense (DoD) STEM education program would not be possible without the help of our partners. Partnerships create opportunities to bring everybody to the table to Educate, Equip, and Empower the broader community in STEM. It also affords opportunities to use our voice to bridge the STEM gap in terms of race, gender, and equity for the under represented. Our world depends on STEM to sustain our growing economy.

The impact of STEM education leads to more innovation, a skilled and highly trained workforce and the creation of new jobs. In this edition of our newsletter, you will read all about our partnerships. You will learn that it takes everybody coming to the table to help kids build confidence, critical thinking, problem solving and develop soft skills that will be essential in the 21st century.


STARBASE ROBINS would like to welcome Donnie Howard! Donnie is the newest addition to our team. He will serve as the Teaching Assistant/Facilitator for our DoD STARBASE program and afterschool clubs. Donnie is currently pursing a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Western Governor's University and is scheduled to graduate in 2023.
We would like to congratulate Audra Hubbard! Mrs. Hubbard has accepted a new position and will continue the work of inspiring young minds in STEM. Audra served as STARBASE ROBINS Lead Instructor. We would like to thank Mrs. Hubbard for her hard work, dedication, and service to our staff, students, and schools for the past 10 years. Congratulations Mrs. Hubbard! We wish you all the best in your new job.
Congratulations to Demetria Smith! Mrs. Smith has accepted the Lead Instructor position. She has served as a STARBASE ROBINS Instructor for the past 8 years. Mrs. Smith's experience, hard work, dedication and professionalism makes her the perfect fit for the role of Lead Instructor.

STARBASE STEM Adventure Summer Academies

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Written by: Demetria Smith, Lead Instructor

June 21st - June 30th was two full weeks of STEM Empowerment to include lessons and activities packed with excitement during our STEM Adventure Summer Academies. The students were immersed into many facets of STEM ranging from supersaturation, coding, circuitry and even robotics, just to name a few. The STARBASE ROBINS staff partnered with Mercer University and this partnership did not disappoint. We also collaborated with Dr. Melissa Middlebrooks and Lisa Smith Bell from Georgia Power to bring "real world" circuitry lessons to the students. Students had the opportunity to hear from a local television celebrity from13 WMAZ, meteorologist Taylor Stephenson. The students were able to witness a firsthand farm to table example as well as leave with a gift of goat milk soap during the field trip to The Fort Valley State University's Agriculture Department.

To top it all off, the students who attended our summer academy will also be able to attend our two Saturday Sparks happening in October and March for futher immersive learning and we can't wait! To read the full article click the link below.

Mercer University Research Study

Mercer University researchers Dr. Elaine Thurmond and Dr. Meenakshi Sharma collaborated with STARBASE ROBINS to study how middle school students' develop a STEM identity. They observed 42 students (20 girls and 22 boys) and used different research instruments to support their findings. Click the image above to read the full story.

STARBASE Robins Saturday Spark

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STARBASE ROBINS Saturday Spark will be held on Saturday, October 8, 2022 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Museum of Aviation in the Century of Flight Hangar. This opportunity is open to students in grades 6th-8th. STARBASE ROBINS Saturday Spark is design to extend student's knowledge of STEM through hands-on inquiry based learning. Students will problem-solve, build confidence in STEM application and STEM career exploration. A $50.00 registration fee is required. The deadline to register is Friday, September 23, 2022. Click the link to register.

Students Real World STEM Project

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Written by: Kylie Youmans, Instructor

During our summer academies, students were presented three real world problems. The three problems presented were: Global Poverty, Getting too Hot on a Playground, and Water Filtration. Students were then placed into groups and challenged to develop a solution to one of the problems. Throughout the summer academy, these groups worked very hard in researching and developing solutions to their Real World problems using a multitude of resources. On the last day of the summer academy, the groups presented their final projects to their peers, instructors and families.

13 WMAZ Meteorologist Visits STARBASE ROBINS

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Written by: Zeineb Yousif, Instructor

Reporting live from STARBASE ROBINS…It’s Taylor Stephenson! Students that attended our STEMpowered Girls and Super STEM Boys summer academies had the opportunity to meet

13 WMAZ’s meteorologist, Taylor Stephenson. Ms. Stephenson love and interest in STEM inspired her to become a meteorologist. She was also motivated by her peers who doubted that a girl could become a meteorologist. Through hard work and dedication, Taylor proved that you can accomplish anything. Students asked Taylor a lot of questions and seemed inspired to pursue a future career in meteorology.

STARBASE 3.0 with Broward County JROTC

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Written by: Andrew Dennis, 2.0 Coordinator

STARBASE 3.0 is a DoD STEM outreach program for high school students. STARBASE ROBINS in collaboration with Broward County JROTC program facilitated a four-day rocketry summer academy on June 14-17 with 80 cadets in Pompano Beach, Florida. This summer academy was led by STARBASE Robins Director, Wesley Fondal Jr., former Lead Instructor Audra Hubbard, and 2.0 Coordinator Andrew Dennis Jr. During the rocketry summer academy, the JROTC cadets learned about Newton’s Laws of Motion and spent four rigorous days building two types of model rockets, the Alpha II and Starcruiser. A and B rocket engines and payloads were installed to change the mass and thrust of the rocket during the rocket launch. The JROTC cadets used digital altimeters to compare and measure the distance the rocket traveled during the launch. Our new partnership with Broward County's JROTC program has been an experience to remember and we are looking forward to future partnership opportunities.


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Written by: Wesley Fondal Jr., Director

STARBASE ROBINS collaborated with Fort Valley State University to initiate their Academy of Future Teachers. The Academy invites Middle Georgia's bright, talented, and diverse high school students to explore a career in teaching math and science.

Fort Valley State University AFT spotlights the professional and academic skills educators need with practical skills every student and future STEM educator can use in the classroom. The AFT participants get hands-on practical teaching experience. Fort Valley State University AFT program began last summer with students meeting virtually and STARBASE ROBINS serving on their advisory panel. This summer, the students met in-person with the STARBASE ROBINS instructional team to receive counsel on their lesson planning and delivery.

This partnership is a great way to allow future teachers to use STEM to meet real-world challenges by utilizing essential pedagogy and differentiated teaching. WIth this partnership, STARBASE ROBINS and Fort Valley State University College of Education are effectuating a STEM teacher pipeline.

Full STEM Ahead at the Public Library

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Written by: Sydnie Daniely, Instructor

We kicked off the start of summer with a Full STEM Ahead summer academy at Hancock County Public Library, partnering with Hancock County’s 4H program. Students participated in a 4-day summer academy; three days at the library and a field trip to the Museum of Aviation on the final day. On the first day, students completed a Pre-Survey to identify their attitudes/behaviors toward STEM. Students were fully engaged and exposed to STEM activities in rocketry, robotics, Newton's Laws of Motion, fluid mechanics, and coding to name a few. On day three at the library, students made their own homemade ice cream in a bag which was a big messy hit!

To conclude our Full STEM Ahead summer academy, students were bused from Hancock County to the Museum of Aviation where they had the opportunity to launch their rockets. At the end of the rocket launch, students took their Post-Survey and received their Certificates of Completion. Students were also able to tour the Museum of Aviation.

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