SOUTH BEND - Officials cut the ribbon in South Bend Thursday on the third STARBASE Indiana program. The educational program that provides "hands on, minds on" activities in science, technology, engineering and math joins two others in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis.

The program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense and is located at the South Bend National Guard Armory. STARBASE's goal is to raise interest and improve knowledge in STEM for at-risk youth. 

"We're looking forward to adding to the accomplishments of our Fort Wayne and Indianapolis academies and providing experiential STEM education to the South Bend area," said Scott Liebhauser, executive director of STARBASE Indiana. "We're excited about being able to provide hands-on, minds-on instruction to 2,000 South Bend youth annually."

The ribbon cutting was attended by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-2), Indiana National Guard Director of the Joint Staff Brig. Gen. Ronald Westfall, Liebhauser and STARBASE Founder Barbara Koscak.

STARBASE is a nationwide program that began in 1993 and has since graduated more than one million students. In Indiana, more than 5,000 students have graduated since the first location in Fort Wayne opened in 2012. The Indianapolis location opened in 2015.