Captain Brian Palmer
STARBASE 2.0, STARBASE Oklahoma, Oklahoma City
|Capt. Brian Palmer (center), a volunteer for STARBASE 2.0 mentoring program at ASTEC Charter School in Oklahoma City, receives an Outstanding Mentor Award from Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Chairman David L. Boren (left) and President Anil Gollahalli during Oklahoma Mentor Day at the Capitol. (Photo by Travis Caperton, Oklahoma State Capitol)|
STARBASE 2.0 combines STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities with a relationship-rich, school-based environment serving at-risk youth in sixth through eighth grades. The program uses a team mentoring approach, pairing teams of three to four students with one adult mentor for four hours each month to focus on STEM projects, team-building and goal setting.
An engineering graduate of Memphis State University, Palmer has been stationed at Tinker Air Force Base since 2012 as an engineer. Captain Palmer is now in his second year of sharing his expertise with middle-school students at ASTEC. He has assisted in guiding students in building solar-powered tractors and exploring alternative energies for sustainable living in the 21st century.
“His patience, quiet demeanor and knowledge of engineering principles have greatly enhanced the STARBASE efforts in educating the ASTEC students,” said Drate Cathey, a STARBASE 2.0 coordinator. “He captures the interest of the students as he inspires them to stretch their minds.”
“Captain Palmer helps our team come up with new ideas without just telling us what to do; he lets us decide," said one of the eighth-graders in his club.
Sharon Brooks, STARBASE Oklahoma deputy director, praised Palmer for going the extra mile. She said he joined the program after the small groups were formed the first year, yet he managed to support all the groups as he spent time with each one and offered his expertise on the projects. “He even took materials home in an effort to offer more options and solutions to problems the groups were experiencing," she said.