Milwaukee, Wis. —The Aviation Careers Education (ACE) program is a summer employment and learning opportunity for high school students in Milwaukee Public Schools. ACE promotes aviation and space education and provides students with experiences in aviation-related jobs. It is the result of a partnership between industry, high schools, and the government.  The Department of Defense’s (DoD) STARBASE Wisconsin Academy is a part of the Milwaukee ACE Committee.  This program is coordinated by the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Aeronautics. 

On June 23rd, STARBASE instructors provided an aviation education program for ACE students employed at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  16 ACE interns participated in flight instruction by flying flight simulators to land on runways at General Mitchell and Waukesha County Airport. Colonel John Puttre explained how to earn private and sport pilot licenses as well as careers in military aviation.  Jacqueline Boyd described the various jobs in airport operations. Current internships are established with the Milwaukee Fire Department at the airport, Paradies Lagardere Travel Retail Shops, Signature Flight Support MKE, and Transportation Security Administration to give youth a holistic view of the aviation and transportation industry.

Danasia Brown and Rahniyah Ingram are STARBASE Wisconsin Alumni who attended the STEM program as elementary students from Milwaukee Public Schools.  (Learn more about these young women on pages 2 and 3 of this article.) They are now participating in the ACE program this summer as interns.  The internship opportunities at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport . . .

  • Encourage students to succeed in school by making class work more meaningful.
  • Give students experiences in aviation-related jobs, which help them realize that aviation careers are within their reach.
  • Encourage youth to start planning their future, set career goals, and plan how they will get there.
  • Promote collaboration with educators and schools in support of aviation initiatives.

All ACE youth become familiar with different aspects of airport operations and the aviation industry. They tour airport operations including the air traffic control tower, civilian operations, 128th Air Refueling Wing, airport infrastructure, and take a flight in a small aircraft.  To qualify as an ACE student, youth must be at least 16 years old and enrolled in Milwaukee Public Schools.  Youth can participate in the program until the summer after their high school graduation.

For more information on the ACE Summer Employment Opportunity, contact Meredith Alt, Aviation Education Program Manager, via email or call her at (608) 266-8166.  Program Website- To learn more about the DoD STARBASE Academy in Wisconsin, visit or contact John Puttre, Director-STARBASE Wisconsin, via email at or telephone at (414) 535-5786.   

Danasia Brown

Danasia Brown is a STARBASE Wisconsin Alumni. She attended the STEM program as a fifth-grade student while attending Thurston Woods Elementary School with  Ms. Kristi Trowers.  The STARBASE program generated her interest in STEM. She was selected to represent her elementary school in the Milwaukee Public School District Science Fair. Her science experiment focused on temperatures, and how it affects banana mold. Her goal is to help apply different temperatures to fruits to prevent moldy food. As a Junior at Rufus King International High School, she currently participates in the ACE Internship program as a clerk at the Bronzeville Crossing, a store owned by Paradies Lagardere Travel Retail. 

The internship provides youth with an awareness of operations throughout the airport from retail to technical positions. Tours with aviation related industry companies and leadership development speakers are invited to talk with ACE interns. Of these opportunities, Danasia is looking forward to flying in an aircraft this year. She enjoyed flying a small Cessna airplane on the Microsoft X Flight Simulator. Jack Lake, the ACE Intern Program Coordinator, speaks about her work ethic, “Danasia always has a smile on her face and a strong desire to succeed.”

By providing customer service in the shop, she can speak with a wide variety of people from different professions throughout the airport from military veterans to pilots. The in-person networking provides her with a lot of insight on their jobs and roles. Her best advice to future ACE student interns is, “Get to know your co-workers as they are the people who you network with the most.”

Danasia’s fifth grade teacher from Thurston Woods states, “I had Danasia for 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th grade. I had the pleasure to see her drive for knowledge never fade. She has always been a proficient student but worked to become even stronger. She is a highly creative, thoughtful and an independent individual who loves to learn.” 

Soon, she plans to study History and/or Psychology at a four-year public university in South Carolina or Wisconsin upon graduating in 2023. She is also interested in joining the United States Army or Navy Reserves after speaking with her grandfather about his military career.

Rahniyah Ingram

Rahniyah Ingram is a high school Junior at the Milwaukee School of Languages with a focus on Spanish. She visited the STARBASE Wisconsin program with Sean Clark from Parkview Elementary School.

Mr. Clark brought a world of STEM opportunities to her elementary school experience including environmental education experiments,  an egg drop contest, and a trip to STARBASE Wisconsin.  He recalls that “Rahniyah is a student ‘ANY’ teacher would love to have in their room. She was always ready to volunteer and read in small groups, or in front of the whole classroom. Rahniyah liked to show her math work on her dry erase board, paper and especially our Smartboard….to share with the class.  The STEM activities we conducted in class really brought out her best qualities. Rahniyah was able to work by herself, with a partner, or with a small group if needed. This is what makes her such a special kid. Whether it was keeping her egg from cracking after crashing, building a volcano out of toilet paper, measuring how high her film canister went in the tube, drawing one of the four types of bridges, or finding Oliver K. Woodman, she was always up to the task.  Rahniyah is just one of the reasons I became a teacher. That girl is just a ‘GOOD EGG.’”

She is very excited about her participation in the ACE Internship program as her high school does not offer STEM enrichment courses.  Jack Lake, the ACE Intern Program Coordinator,  recalls her enthusiasm for the program, “Rahniyah is very goal oriented and completing college is one of her first key goals to accomplish.”  Her favorite ACE activities were flying the flight simulator.  She looks forward to riding or taxiing in a small airplane on the runway.  Rahniyah’s advise to future ACE students who participate in the program is to “really listen to these people (supervisors and advisors).  [They give] great advice.  The leadership training prepared me for networking.  Putting yourself out there, try out things, and network with others in various departments.”

In her spare time, she volunteers with the Milwaukee County Health Department assisting with community outreach for sexual health, covid vaccine awareness, and other health awareness issues.  Currently, her primary career interest is in the medical field.

Although a Junior, she is preparing for her post-secondary education.  She currently participates in the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s PEOPLE program, a pre-college program for high school students.  The program’s vision is to be the premier college access program for student success. PEOPLE is the UW’s most successful venture in creating such opportunities and improving campus diversity.  Students who enroll at UW-Madison may be eligible for a four-year tuition scholarship. Her preferred majors are biology and chemistry leading toward a career