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STARBASE Louisiana hosts national workshop

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Ted Daigle
  • 307th Bomb Wing

STARBASE Louisiana held a two-day rocketry workshop here for educators from Dept. of Defense STARBASE programs across the nation April 21-22.

The effort was part of a DOD STARBASE initiative to hold workshops at program sites with specific areas of expertise.

Laurie Ilgenfritz, STARBASE Louisiana director, said the workshop was a natural fit since the program has extensive knowledge in teaching rocketry to middle school and high school students.

“We’ve been working on our rocketry for a long time. We made all the mistakes, but we have a successful program as evidenced by several of our teams making the national competition multiple times,” she said. “Several STARBASE programs wanted to start rocketry programs, and we wanted to help them avoid some of the same mistakes we made.”

 Ilgenfritz said the program at Barksdale is one of the largest in the nation and one of the few working with high school students.

Barbara Koscak, the founder of DoD STARBASE, was on hand for the first day of the workshop.

“Louisiana should be proud of their STARBASE program at Barksdale,” she said. “The STARBASE team is professional and did an outstanding job presenting rocketry.”

Teachers attending the workshop learned how to build a rocket similarly to how STARBASE Louisiana students are taught, using blueprints and design software.


The instructors also learned how to set up and use an altimeter and went over safety procedures before taking part in several launches. Each launch required data analysis to fix any errors.

The workshop ended with a course on starting and maintaining a successful rocketry program.

Dawn Bailey, a program instructor with STARBASE in Manhattan, Kansas, was one of the workshop attendees.

“We do rocketry, but not on this scale,” she said. “Here, they build much larger rockets from scratch, so I want to take that information and use it with our program.

Rodney Sanders, an attendee from Columbia, South Carolina, said the workshop would provide several benefits for his local STARBASE students.

“It’s great because you get to teach certain principles through rocketry,” he said. “The biggest takeaway is how much we can go into mathematics, engineering, and physics and use this as a means to help students learn.”

STARBASE Louisiana, founded in 1999, is sponsored by the 307th Bomb Wing.