Under the guidance of Brig. Gen. David Arendts, 127th wing commander at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, students were invited to Selfridge to participate and witness the application of scientific concepts in a "real world" setting. National Guard personnel demonstrated the use of science, mathematics, engineering and technology in their fields of expertise and served as role models to the attending students.
In FY 1993, the U.S. Congress appropriated funds for DoD STARBASE and piloted the program in seven states. Since that time, the number of locations has grown to 76 with four Native American outreach programs spanning across 40 states including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Newly funded programs in Utah, Louisiana, Virginia, Washington, Michigan, Wisconsin, Montana, Georgia, Indiana, Texas and Nevada opened their doors for operation in 2012 with ribbon cutting ceremonies and open houses showcasing DoD STARBASE to their community and dignitaries that attended in support of the program.
To accommodate the growing demand for additional STEM programs, a structured afterschool mentoring program, STARBASE 2.0, for middle school students was piloted in 2010 at five locations. The program's success relies on collaboration between the sponsoring military unit, the school district and local communities.
Twenty-four DoD STARBASE academies sponsored the middle school program in 2012 and another thirteen academies will sponsor STARBASE 2.0 in the upcoming year.