Hanscom engineer speaks at STARBASE Academy

  • Published
  • By Mark Wyatt
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – An Air Force Life Cycle Management Center mechanical engineer spoke to students from Peabody, Massachusetts, about his background during a presentation at the STARBASE Academy here March 28.

Lt. Col. Karlos "Klench" Tungol, Airspace Mission Planning Division Integrations Branch chief, discussed why he became an engineer and how those skills have helped others.

“I really wanted to help people from a technology perspective,” he said. “The military is not the only way to do this; there are a lot of different ways that you can apply what you are learning here, in school and in your life to help other people.”

Tungol added that he enjoys “working as part of a team solving hard problems” and “using technology to make the world a better place.”

“As an air advisor from 2016-2017, I used my engineering skills to help the people of Afghanistan,” he said. “We used the technology we have in the Air Force to make that country safer.”

Tungol was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States when he was 6 years old.

He said he was always “fascinated with technology” through video games, which he likened to what he does now in the Air Force.

“The organization I work with now creates mission planning software,” he said. “That program allows us to help airplanes fly better. I get to use a lot of my engineering skill sets to do that.”

Tungol spoke to the students about how during a previous assignment he used to fly in the back of a fighter jet as an engineer.

“I ran experiments from the back of an F-16 fighter jet testing new systems that helped warfighters,” he said.

Tungol spoke after his presentation about the opportunity to talk to the students.

“Having this program at such an early age is absolutely advantageous for the growth and the development of these children,” he said. “It’s great they are introduced to science, technology, engineering and mathematics through this program.”

Dr. Peter Holden, director of the STARBASE Academy at Hanscom, discussed how the program is fortunate to have personnel with STEM-focused careers at Hanscom.

“We are privileged to have guest speakers who are so accomplished and can speak in a way that engages the kids,” said Holden. “Many of the questions the children asked indicated they were very engaged and interested.”

The students from William A. Welch, Sr., Elementary School asked questions about what kind of schooling it takes to be an engineer, what Tungol’s favorite aircraft was and what his childhood dream was.

“The STARBASE program offers fifth-grade students in Massachusetts the opportunity to participate in a variety of learning experiences designed to increase their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” said Holden.

According to the STARBASE director, local school districts transport classes of students, along with their teachers, to the base for a five-day, intensive STEM experience. The program consists of 25 hours of guided or open-ended inquiry-based activities as well as activities designed to engage students in thinking about STEM job skills and careers.

To learn more about the STARBASE Academy, visit https://www.starbasehanscom.live/.