Centerpoint Energy awards STARBASE Louisiana $24.6 K grant

  • Published
  • By Gabrielle Terrett
  • 307th Bomb Wing

Centerpoint Energy presented  STARBASE Louisiana leadership with a $24,600 grant here yesterday.

The company has awarded $62,900 worth of grants to STARBASE since 2021.

Sam Walters, the director of operations for Centerpoint in Shreveport, expressed optimism about the effort STARBASE is putting forth to create opportunities for students to use Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in a STEM-based learning environment.

“The lessons being taught at STARBASE align with our mission of targeting initiatives that focus on community vitality and education,” he said. “When it comes to supporting STARBASE, we are happy to help.”


STARBASE Louisiana will use the funds to create a system allowing a student to wear a Virtual Reality headset and actively experience the mission while another student views it from an iPad. The system will allow students to communicate and complete hands-on STEM assignments.

“We were told that VR would be something in the pipeline, so we decided that instead of waiting on someone else to develop lessons, we’re going to be the pioneers,” said Richard Scott, deputy director at STARBASE Louisiana. “That way, we can create the best experiences for our students in this area.”

In addition to educating students, STARBASE prepares them for the real world by making them competitive future job applicants.

“We want to emphasize to the kids that Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are becoming a huge part of the workplace now,” said STARBASE Executive Director Laurie IIgenfritz.

Due to the nature of government funding, Scott and Ilgenfritz determined writing a grant would be the best way to find the money to create these innovative lessons. During the wait time for approval from Centerpoint, Scott got to work.

“I pored through all of the educational research, the hardware, the technical aspects, and asked what it was going to take to do all this,” he said.

Scott presented his findings at ITSEC (Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference) earlier this year. It’s hoped that those findings will be used to create immersive lessons that utilize AR and VR for STARBASE students across the Department of Defense.

Ilgenfritz and Scott believe these lessons will encourage students to join the STEM field as professionals.

“We are in talks with Willis- Knighton and working with them on showcasing how they use AR and VR in their medical training for nurses and physical therapists, and there’s a lot of application in the medical field for those technologies,” said Ilgenfritz. “So, everything that we do here, we want it to be a catalyst for introducing them to opportunities that will be out there when they enter the workplace.”

For more information about STARBASE Louisiana visit .