STARBASE PUERTO RICO modernizes computer laboratory

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Nilsa Mendez
  • 156th Wing

STARBASE Puerto Rico, a Department of Defense-sponsored youth educational program located at the 156th Wing, modernized its computer laboratory inventory with 33 new computers during May, after recently upgrading its internet capabilities.

The new computers will allow students to engage with the latest versions of science, technology, engineering, and math programs provided in the curriculum.  

“The Puerto Rico National Guard is committed to continuing its support of the DOD STARBASE program of planting the seed of curiosity in science, technology, engineering, and math in students around the island,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Denny Lozano, the STARBASE PR program manager assigned to Joint Forces Headquarters, Fort Buchanan. “We are achieving this unwavering commitment to the program by leading the projects of faster internet speed, new computers, and soon improved common areas to create an ambiance more conducive to students' learning and exploration.”

To fulfill the technology requirements of this program, the computer laboratory is equipped with the latest version of OnShape Computer-Aided Design software - which allows the students and teachers to work as a team in real-time product design while using basic engineering concepts.

“The computer upgrade has impacted us a lot,” said Urbano Ayala, director of STARBASE PR. “The old computers were running with an outdated operating system of Windows 7 and our OnShape CAD software needed Windows 10.”

Along with the hardware modernization in the computer laboratory, the recent upgrade of the internet service saw an increase in capacity from 6Mbps to 500Mbps, allowing a reliable connection to enable an efficient workflow amongst the students and the staff.

“There was a substantial improvement to our daily operations,” said Ayala. “We saw a significant impact by increasing the capacity of the internet and met the technological requirements of the administrative staff and students using the computer laboratory and classrooms.”

For the past 27 years, more than 27,000 middle school students have had the opportunity to participate in and graduate from the STARBASE PR program.

This unique program is not only designed to immerse students in a hands-on STEM curriculum to solve real-world problems but also surround them with exemplary airmen and other positive role models.

“The Puerto Rico Air National Guard has always been willing and able to support us,” Ayala said. “As part of our career development class, we bring airmen to speak to the students about the importance of STEM in their career fields.”

The program aims at maintaining current, cutting-edge technology to continue its operations and aspires to expand to serve and impact even more youth around Puerto Rico.