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Minnesota National Guard
133rd volunteers share expertise as mentors to STEM students

STARBASE 20 MINNEAPOLIS - Three members of the Minnesota National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing were barely noticed as they walked into a class of industrious students bustling away on various energy, electricity and electronics projects at Pillsbury Elementary School, April 29, 2015 With the fourth and fifth grade students too busy wiring an energy meter to a previously-constructed wind fan or working on circuitry to provide power to a model house, the Airmen skipped the pleasantries and dove right in to lend assistance

"We show up, and start building stuff right away," said Senior Master Sgt Greg Wohlfeil "The kids are energetic, and it's fun to watch them learn"

On this day, a total of six Airmen from the 133rd ventured to the school to support the STARBASE 20 mentoring program, an offshoot of the STARBASE Minnesota program The purpose of STARBASE 20 is to support students' excitement and learning in the academic disciplines emphasized in STEM, which stresses Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

"It's great having them here," said Bob Lundquist, a teacher at Pillsbury Elementary "When the group interactions get closer to one-on-one, the kids get focused and have a real feel for the Guard member's expertise"

The Airmen mentor students in either the Girls in Engineering, Math and Science or Guys in Science and Engineering programs, which explore cutting-edge science through hands-on team projects This past school year, 24 Airmen volunteered more than 165 hours in the mentoring program

Kim Van Wie, STARBASE executive director, said the STARBASE 20 program has been a great success with the pre- and post-testing comparisons "astounding" And though the three-year-old mentoring program is currently held at Pillsbury only, "with 100 more volunteers, we could be in five more schools"

For more information on STARBASE and the STARBASE 20 mentoring program, or to become a volunteer, please visit http://wwwstarbasemnorg/volunteers/starbase-2-0-mentoring/

May 6, 2015
by Staff Sgt Patrick Loch
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs

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