The STARBASE Duluth Advisory Board is comprised of vested, passionate community leaders who feel deeply committed to supporting the advancement and sustainability of cutting edge STEM education in the Duluth and surrounding region.


Dan barnes
Dan Barnes Associate Chief Information Officer, Essentia Health

“I am impressed by the excitement of the children at STARBASE and their engagement with their classroom instructor. It is also noteworthy to mention that the children leave their time at STARBASE with real world information about STEM careers.”


Colonel Christopher Blomquist Commander, 148th Fighter Wing, MN Air National Guard

“Many companies in the Duluth area are in need of engineers in their aviation or other workforce and it’s a lost art. So with STARBASE, it’s great to see our own local children learning about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math right here on our base.”


Erica Danielski AVP of Corporate Strategy, Maurices

My career with technologically-focused firms has illustrated the pivotal role STEM fields play in advancing more than our businesses, but our families and our society. STEM fields offer exciting and challenging work, and vast career opportunities. STARBASE introduces all students to these topics in a fun, engaging and experiential way. We often see at STARBASE the new spark of passion being lit in children, perhaps changing them forever. This is important work as we prepare the next generation to serve and succeed.”


Hanna Erpestad Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Lake Superior College

“STEM education will provide students in our region, a competitive edge in the job market. The more STEM-skilled employees the region has, the better our region is positioned to meet local, national, and international STEM market needs. I am impressed with STARBASE’s commitment to inspiring younger students to discover the joys of STEM-and helping their parents see the value of STEM.”


Al Ghordlo Sustaining Field Support Engineering Manager, Cirrus Aircraft

“I’m an avid proponent of improving our education system, especially in STEM related education subjects and STARBASE provides hands-on, real life interaction with the latest technology.”


Lt. Colonel Bryan Graddy Pilot, USAF and UMD Professor of Aerospace Studies

“I feel that STEM studies are the road less traveled because, in my opinion, students are too often intimidated by the challenges, especially when many alternatives are available. STARBASE champions achievement in the intimidating subjects of science & math that generate genuine excitement and motivation in the students we serve.”


Lori Hoyum Policy Manager-Regulatory Affairs, Minnesota Power/Allete

“Being a strong supporter of experiential learning, and understanding the importance of having skilled workers in this region, especially for STEM-focused careers, I see how the STARBASE Program delivers a one-of-kind hands-on learning experience to area youth that broadens their world in ways that the traditional classroom can’t.”


Kelsey Johnson President, Iron Mining Association of Minnesota

“I am a lifelong northeastern Minnesotan and particularly passionate about solid access to STEM in rural parts of the region. As a school aged kid in the Northland, I remember the challenges I faced in learning more about STEM and I want to help remove those barriers.”


Lucas Mistelske Vice President of Strategic Accounts, Involta

“STEM based education, specifically STARBASE, gives students an applied method of not only learning STEM based topics, but actually executing in a way that is engaging. I don’t know of another program that aligns with education standards and yet gives students such a fun immersive way to experience education. It’s focused on delivering quality education, while giving students the hands on experience to see their knowledge at work.”


Senator Erik Simonson* State of Minnesota Legislature

“STEM has historically seemed unattainable beyond the few and the privileged. I find STARBASE has the unique ability to connect with kids of a variety of diverse backgrounds. STEM can be fun – and kids ought to have the ability to excel – regardless of their societal positions.”


Rolf Weberg Director, Natural Resources Research Institute

“I believe in the mission of STARBASE because I supports the concept of targeting children in their formative years, while their imaginations are still fertile and have not yet been limited by societal pressures. Giving kids at this age the foundation of understanding and imagination will serve them for the rest of their lives and will encourage them to consciously identify and pursue their passions.”


*Denotes Officer