If one happens into a STARBASE classroom they will be immediately drawn into the whole scene – exciting murals on the walls, 3D printers and other technologies, STARBASE instructors in flight suits, students engaged in science, technology, engineering and math, (STEM), and caring adults around groups of students encouraging and guiding them in their STEM learning. If you’re lucky enough, you may see right there among the students, the quietly strong, dynamic, and positive influencer, Collin Kange, a marketing major with a psychology minor attending University of St. Thomas, (UST) who STARBASE first met as a Page Scholar looking forward to volunteering to serve his community. Collin volunteers his time working directly with fourth and fifth graders in the STARBASE program whenever he can, and STARBASE students and staff are more than thrilled to see Collin each time he comes.
The middle child of a family of five, Collin grew up in south Minneapolis, attending Seward Montessori and South High School in Minneapolis Public Schools. As a child he was curious, outgoing, athletic, did well in school, but admittedly sometimes “goofed off”, and found reading to be a struggle. He learned early on to work hard, keep trying, and persevere, lessons that he brings to STARBASE students each time he works with students — and they listen.
Collin has a special way with students and they immediately gravitate to him. His positive energy, calm demeanor, encouragement, and a smile so big it lights up a room is only a part of it. He has an uncanny ability to relate to any student regardless of their academic achievement, learning needs, background or experiences. Collin, or “Ace”, his call sign, is loved by all students and teachers alike. He is their rock star and ours too.
Even though it has been months since Collin fulfilled the 50 hours required service as a Page Scholar to a children’s project, Collin continues to volunteer his time in the classroom at least once a week and sometimes up to two or three times per week when UST is on break. “The greatest part of volunteering is seeing the joy the kids get when something happened that they weren’t expecting”, he said, going on to describe the excitement he gets himself seeing students launch their own engineered rocket on the last day of the program. “I would have liked STARBASE so much as a student myself”, Collin muses.
Even though STARBASE staff have strong feelings about Collin adding another major to his already impressive resume — education — because he is just that good, soon, Collin will be interning in financial services and in another year will be graduating from UST with his major in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. Collin plans to continue to volunteer at STARBASE as often has he can in the interim, and encourages other to do the same. To date, Collin Kange has volunteered well over a hundred hours in the STARBASE classroom over the past two years, inspiring and educating students in science, technology, engineering and math. Thank you, Collin, from all of us.