Department of Military Affairs

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STARBASE is funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) and is the premiere DoD STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education program. STARBASE presents our nation’s youth to the technological environments and positive civilian and military role models found on Active, Guard, and Reserve military bases and installations while building confidence in STEM practices and concepts.

The national STARBASE program began in 1993. There are approximately 80 STARBASE locations throughout the U.S. including Puerto Rico and Guam. Montana has STARBASE classrooms in Helena at Fort Harrison (est. 2007) and Great Falls on the Air National Guard Base/120th Airlift Wing (est. 2011).

STARBASE Montana is unique in regards to other STARBASE locations throughout the country in that each and every 5th grade class in both Helena and Great Falls school districts spend 5 days at our STARBASE classrooms experiencing 25 hours of exemplary hands-on instruction and activities that meet or exceed the National Standards. STARBASE Montana sites also run STARBASE 2.0 programs, which are STEM-based afterschool clubs that meet within the local middle schools, summer camps, and other supplementary programs.

  • To date, STARBASE Fort Harrison (est. 2007) has educated  11,785 students and STARBASE Great Falls (est. 2011) has educated 9,416 students in their basic program for a total of 21,201 students.    
  • In SFY 2022 STARBASE Montana reached an additional 386 youth through summer camps, afterschool programs, and supplementary activities.
  • Since STARBASE Montana's creation in 2007, we've reached a grand total of 25,366 students.
  • The STARBASE program is 100% federally funded and brought $1,075,250 federal dollars to Montana for FFY 2023.
Director of STARBASE Montana
Kara Bates Tangedal
Kara Tangedal 2022

Kara joined the Department of Military Affairs in 2021 as Director of STARBASE Montana. With experience in STEM education and program management, Kara's goals are to work with her STARBASE team and stakeholders to ensure the continuation and expansion of STARBASE in Montana and maintain its position as the Premier DoD Youth Outreach Program. Kara grew up in Plains, MT and attended Montana State University, receiving undergraduate degrees in Microbiology and Science Education, and a Master's of Science in Science Education. When Kara isn't following her passion of bringing quality STEM opportunities to Montana youth, Kara enjoys a healthy mix of reading, TV binges, and enjoying the outdoors with her husband, Ryan, and their daughter, Lainie.

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