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Impact

The Gorge Tech Alliance’s (GTA) Youth Robotics Program inspires the future workforce of the Gorge’s tech industry and improves regional STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math). The GTA loans free robotics equipment and hosts robotics events in the region.

Since 2009, the GTA has:

  • Introduced 2,500+ students to robotics through use of our 75 robotics kits and laptops.
  • Involved 2,750+ students in GTA youth robotics tournaments, exhibitions, workshops and other events.
  • Provided scholarships to winning teams for travel to out-of-state tournaments.
  • Developed, expanded and supported robotics programs at K-12 schools in our five-county region.

We’ve done this with the generous support of our Sponsors.

Many Thanks to our 2017 Sponsors



Photos of Events or Teams Supported by the GTA

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Program Testimonials

April 23, 2014

Dear Jessica,

I really appreciate the Gorge Tech Alliance (GTA) and all it does to support robotics for our youth in The Columbia Gorge area.  When I first got started coaching robotics, GTA was one of the sponsors for a big robotics day/demo at The Dalles Civic Center.  It was a great promo for the robotics programs in the area, and a wonderful introduction for me and many of our students!  Google and the wind-power folks were there as well.

Through GTA 3 years ago, my school was able to get 3 refurbished laptops to use for our robotics program, one for each of the 3 teams I raise and coach each year.  For the past 2 years I have been able to borrow extra robot kits in the spring from GTA for use in teaching interested students about programming NXT robots. With extra robots, teams of students are able to try out their programming skills immediately to see if the robot did what they thought they had told it to do.  Teaching programming in the spring helps generate interest among students who then end up wanting to be on a robotics team in the fall.  Last year, it was successful in generating interest among some girls, so I had several girls on a team this past fall.

This spring, in addition to borrowing extra robots, Jessica Metta of GTA included a copy of a book called Classroom Activities for the Busy Teacher: NXT.  What a wonderful resource!  My programming students are really enjoying the activities this book promotes.  They look forward to each Friday when we work on our programming skills.

I can’t say enough good things about this organization and what it does to support tech education for children.  They definitely deserve your support of their fundraiser!

Sincerely,

Nancy Malitz
Mosier Community School Senior Teacher


April 24, 2014

Dear Gorge Technology Alliance,

GTA has a profound impact on all five hundred and fifty seven students that attend Hood River Middle School. GTA supplies our school with NXT robotics kits and funding for FLL competitions that not only allow students to learn math and language skills, but also provides them the ability to practice being good global community members. How? You ask.

At Hood River Middle school we require all students to take three years of engineering. During the three years the students use the robots in successional curriculum that grow along with their interest. During this time the students are required to keep an Engineering Journal where they write down everything they do as well as make connections with grade level mathematics. Our mantra is, “if it’s not written down, it never happened.” I have seen English as a Second Language (ESL) student come into the class barely able to write one sentence in English and leave able to easily fill a page (front and back) after a forty-five minute class. On a parallel front, I have watched students link gear ratio concepts to how fast their robot can go. That is, I witnessed them draw the graph “speed vs. gear ratio value” write down each on the ordered pair, connect the dots with a line, and predict what the next speed would be if they changed the gear. All based on their own observations and analysis. This academic achievement is evident by our current 7th and 8th grade math and language state test score. All well above state averages and improving every year.

Of course the students have benefited from GTA within the standards side of education, but does that allow them the chance to grow as a well-rounded person? I say Yes! Last year we participated in the FLL competition. The competition’s title was Senior Solutions and focused on trying to help the senior community. With this as a back drop, I watched a professional from Intel genuinely intrigued by our team’s proposed invention. The invention was a hearing aid that could recharge automatically. The idea was small magnets in the hearing aid would vibrate when affected by lower frequency electromagnetic waves. Unbelievably this idea is actually on the drawing board at one of Intel’s sister companies! I love that the students’ ideas were parallel with the professional engineers. I also love that the students work was driven by something other than a test. In this case their learning was driven by compassion for others. The fact that the students were not worried about grades when they gave their time and efforts. They were trying to figure out how to solve problems based on their ability to care for others. I feel this message is sometimes missed within public schools these days because of our test-driven agenda.

Our school is littered with other examples of the GTA robots being used to help out the school. We have students working on making a fish feeder for the living machine in the greenhouse, students designing musical instruments for the robots to play, they have designed programs  that make the robots draw pictures of our school’s mascot, and even a GTA robot that senses the light and determines when our garden’s sprinkler system should turn on. Thanks to GTA’s dedication to our students, they have been given the opportunity to grow academically as well as learn how to be global citizens. We are nurturing students that will become successful professionals, interesting people, and good neighbors. Thank you GTA! You are an integral part of our success.

All the best,
Andy Angstrom
Hood River Middle School Engineering