STARBASE Martinsburg and Drug Demand Reduction Program partner for Family STEM Night

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle
  • 167th Airlift Wing

Remote-controlled robots rolled across the hangar floor as foam rockets launched towards the rafters above. 

Jupiter could be viewed through a telescope outside, while drones buzzed around the rear of the building.  

Drug dogs demonstrated their ability to sniff out illegal substances and students wearing alcohol impairment goggles navigated a road map on a floor mat. 

The hangar formerly used by Sino Swearingen at the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport was full of activity again for the Family STEM Night, Oct. 26, co-hosted by STARBASE Martinsburg and the Air National Guard’s (ANG) Drug Demand Reduction Program (DDRP), in honor of Red Ribbon Week, a drug-use prevention campaign.  

More than 30 vendors comprised of law enforcement, civilian and military agencies with ties to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and drug and alcohol awareness were on hand offering activities and education on a wide range of topics.  

The event had been a longtime goal for STARBASE Martinsburg program director, Sherra Triggs. She and her staff bring Berkeley and Jefferson County fifth graders to the 167th Airlift Wing to provide STEM education each year, but she had been looking for ways to engage a wider audience with STEM education and STEM career possibilities.  

“Creating a big outreach event can be a huge undertaking. The more people you have invested and participating the more success you are bound to have,” said Triggs.    

Which is why the event only came to fruition after Chief Master Sgt. Christina Rader, senior regional manager for the Air National Guard’s Drug Demand Reduction Program, asked Triggs for assistance reaching more youth for Red Ribbon Week.  

By joining forces, Triggs and Rader were able to leverage support from STARBASE, regional DDRP, the 167th Airlift Wing and numerous community agencies. 

“It seemed natural to partner with STARBASE during 2022 National Red Ribbon Week for a STEM night, promote drug and alcohol awareness and have community helping agencies and resources readily available for families,” said Rader. “This event was actually used to serve as a benchmark to show other wings what is possible with prevention, education and outreach efforts when they team up with STARBASE and others in their communities.” 

Rader and Triggs both hope to make Family STEM Night an annual event during Red Ribbon Week.  

“After the success and community outreach of this event, I only see it getting bigger and better,” said Triggs.