BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A program at the Edwards Air Force base works to help teach girls in the community different aspects of science and aerospace through launching rockets.
That’s what Starbase Edwards is all about. It’s a department of defense initiative helping kids in schools in about an hour radius of the Edwards Air Force base.
“[It’s] a lot of activities that are not in the norm of a classroom, so when they come here to Starbase, it’s like they’re coming into a maker’s space, it’s fun,” said Amira Flores, Director of Starbase Edwards.
One specific program called ‘Mighty in Stem Sisters’, or MISS, helps teach girls in middle and high school about aerospace and rockets.
“The fact that we got like this opportunity, that we got chosen for this, it’s really cool,” said Charlese Hill.
Charlese Hill, with her team Star-X, on Thursday afternoon, along with three other all-girl teams, launched rockets in the desert as part of the all-American rocketry challenge.
Teams of girls launched rockets weighing about five pounds. They had eggs inside and had to land it safely and intact in order to be considered for the qualifiers.
If they qualify, this will be first team of girls to compete in national round from the Kern-Edwards region, but to the girls, mentors, and staff, the program is more than just a contest.
“I think getting to know the girls individually, they have such big, wonderful personalities. It’s been really cool to see them grow and become more comfortable with this process and more empowered as engineers. It’s just been really rewarding to get to know them better,” said Valerie Kettering, Mentor at Starbase Edwards.
The mentors were DOD employees who helped the girls through the process. The girls designed the rockets and built them from scratch and have been working on them since July 2021.
“To go on this journey with them, of making model rockets and doing many flight tests, was really exciting for me.”
Amira Flores, Director of the Starbase Edwards Program said these girls were chosen to help give them a shot at a stem career and give them skills they might get otherwise. She said they hope to continue doing this.
“They came in not knowing what stem is, just not knowing what rocketry is or aerospace. You take a fresh group of girls, and you give them the exposure you provide them with the resources and you see what they amount,” said Flores.