ERIN NIEMELA – I am a parent of a an elementary school student in Portland, Ore., and early this week I discovered our school is participating in the STARBASE program. STARBASE is a Department of Defense initiative offering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) training to at-risk public school students. . . .While some parents applaud STARBASE for bringing STEM subjects to students in an engaging, exciting way, others â€“ myself included â€“ are concerned about the intentions of the program.