Dr. Emily Arnold

Emily Arnold OPT1I attended STARBASE as a 4th grader. I don’t remember all the details, but I think there was a group of 4th-6th graders who were a part of the gifted program from my county that travelled to Wichita once a week (or maybe every other) so that we could attend the STARBASE program at McConnell.

I grew up in a very small town, Hillsboro, so I was mostly exposed to professions that were related to agriculture; however, as far back as I can remember I always had some interest in aerospace. When I was about 5, I would borrow my dad’s tools to build an “airplane” which was essentially a piece of plywood with a 1 x 2 nailed to it and some radio wires that I taped on. Also, in grade school, my favorite field trips were always the ones where we got to go to the Cosmosphere in Hutch. For me, I guess you could say attending SB scratched an itch I had, even as a young kid, and gave me an opportunity to explore a career field to which I didn’t otherwise have much real exposure. I can still feel the excitement I had as a kid when I found out we were going to attend STARBASE. In my mind, at the time, going to SB for a day would have been preferred over a day at Disneyland. At SB I remember learning the call signs (alpha, bravo, charlie, etc), taking a quiz that involved knowing the difference between longitude and latitude, and watching some B-1 bombers takeoff, but the highlight, by far, was building our rockets and shooting them off on the last day. I know we did many more things, but those are the ones I recall.emily arnold

When folks ask me today how I decided on aerospace engineering, I tell them of three prominent experiences I had growing up. The first was attending STARBASE, the second was getting to watch John Glenn blastoff into space when I was in 6th grade (I don’t know what it was about watching an old man return to space, but it probably had to do with the fact that I grew up in an era where shuttle launches are very rarely covered on national TV), and the final thing was I had an amazing math teacher when I was in high school.

Almost 20 years later, I still look back on my time at STARBASE as a profound moment that helped put me on the path I am on today. Obviously as a 10 year old I wasn’t planning my career, but STARBASE was an experience that kept me interested in aerospace. I think it is an important program, as it exposes kids, especially ones from Kansas, to careers they may not have otherwise experienced. I’m very lucky to have been a part of it, and I’m very happy to see it still going strong today.

Dr. Emily Arnold
Assistant Professor, Aerospace Engineering
University of Kansas

What They're Saying

“STARBASE was a great experience this year! The instructors were very kind and had good management. I thought that the students did better this year on the CAD program and robotics because the directions were clearer than in the past. Coronado LOVES STARBASE.” —L. Frank, Teacher, Coronado Elementary (Salina)