Master Sergeant Michael Sauter
STARBASE 2.0, STARBASE Oklahoma, Tulsa
|Master Sergeant Michael Sauter (center), a volunteer for STARBASE 2.0 mentoring program in Tulsa, 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. Sauter, a Mission Support Group First Sergeant at Tulsa Air National Guard, mentors at Union Sixth and Seventh-Grade Center. (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.
Michael is employed as Mission Support Group First Sergeant at Tulsa Air National Guard. He served four years with the U.S. Marine Corps before joining the Oklahoma National Guard.
Sue Nicely, a STARBASE 2.0 coordinator, said Michael has been one of STARBASE Oklahoma’s most active supporters since 2004, especially through his efforts as a mentor.
“It is truly inspiring to watch him work with these young people,” Sue said. “His quiet, but assuring demeanor brings these students into a confidence of their own as they pursue their STEM projects! Whether it be building and launching rockets, solar-powered cars and hovercraft or creating ‘fog in a jar,’ our students succeed, in large part, because mentors like Michael believe in them and their abilities.”
One of Michael’s mentees stated, “I was so glad that Sgt. Sauter came back to Union this year! We had so much fun doing our hovercraft with him last year, and he’s making this year’s meetings just as fun!”
In addition to volunteering with students, Michael helps the STARBASE staff with computer issues, provides website assistance, serves as a Career Day presenter and has even helped them move, Sue said.
“Knowing Michael for the past five years, he is the ideal mentor representing the Oklahoma National Guard,” said Pamela Kirk, STARBASE Oklahoma director. “He mentors all of us – students and adults alike – in the field of technology, bringing some of us into the tech world kicking and screaming. But we do always thank him later! He always mentors each of us with respect and kindness.”