Donate Surplus Materials, Equipment to Gorge STEM Hub

The Columbia Gorge STEM Hub is accepting donations for their Free Resource Marketplace. This a place where teachers can go to find supplies for their classroom, donated by local businesses. It’s a great way for businesses to find a new home for technology, science, and maker supplies without having to contact the schools themselves. Plus, it is a huge help to teachers who generally have very limited funding for supplies. Since September, the Resource Marketplace has distributed over 60 items and reached over 500 students. Donate (free pick up included!) by contacting Christy Christopher.

Business Participation in Local STEM Events

The Gorge is coming up on the season for a number of our annual events focused on STEM education. Business participation in the events to share what you do is essential! Some of these opportunities include: 
  • Friday, April 27: GTA’s Gorge STEM Career Day, where businesses present to 7th graders from our five-county region. Read about past events here or contact Jessica for details.
  • Friday, June 1, Gorge STEM Fair as part of Hood River First Friday, hosted by Hood River Valley High School Robotics Students and the Gorge STEM Hub. Contact Christy to sign up for a booth or for more details.

Wind Challenge Seeks Volunteers

This is the third year the GTA is helping host the Gorge Wind Challenge with partners Google and Columbia Gorge Community College. In this one-day event on March 17, middle and high-school teams compete to build the best wind turbine. It’s a remarkable event with no advance preparation needed from the students and everything – materials, lunch, t-shirt – provided for free. Volunteers are needed to help guide the teams through the turbine build. Training is provided. More info and registration here.

GTA Business Mentorship Program Launched

As the GTA continues to look for ways to help the tech companies in the Gorge grow and thrive, we are happy to announce a new initiative to link our members looking for and willing to mentor. Mentorship could be a one-time meeting or a periodic check-in between businesses at different stages of evolution. If this sounds interesting to you, please complete this very brief survey to share more information.

Gorge FLL Teams Win at State!

The GTA is so proud of all of the thirteen amazing Gorge FIRST LEGO League (FLL) robotics teams that competed at the state tournament last weekend. The Pink Fluffy Unicorns from Wy’east Middle School took home a First Place trophy and are now headed to the World Competiton in Houston, TX in April! These incredible kids will need financial support to make it happen and we will share more details as we have them. 

The Pink Fluffy Unicorns with Coach Karen O’Neil celebrate their First Place trophy.

Big congrats also to the Hydro Automatons from Hood River who won 4th place, and two Hood River teams that won Core Values trophies: the Hero Robot Monkeys and the Hydro Hipsters. Our students are the BEST!

Congrats to Second Round of Gorge FLL Winners!

The GTA hosted two more FIRST LEGO League Qualifying Tournaments on Dec 9 and 10 at The Dalles Middle School. Thirty-six teams of students ages 9 to 14 competed at the events from as far as Hermiston, Heppner, Irrigon and Ione as well as Klickitat, Stevenson, Dufur, Mosier, Centerville, Hood River and The Dalles. Eleven teams were chosen over the weekend to advance to the state competition in Hillsboro in January.

FLL robot team 2017
FIRST LEGO League team R.U.S.H. from Hood River Middle School watches tensely as their robot performs in the table competition at the tournament in The Dalles on December 10.

Teams worked over the past several months to design and program robots and complete a research project. At the Gorge tournaments, teams demonstrate their robot’s capabilities on the competition table, are interviewed by a robot design panel, present their research project and are assessed on teamwork skills.

The Gorge events are held by the Gorge Technology Alliance with support from Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program, North Wasco County School District 21, Hood River County School District and the Gorge STEM Hub. Top local sponsors include Google, Hood Tech and Insitu.

Organizers congratulate all the teams who competed on Dec 9 and 10 and honored these top award winners:

  • Overall 1st Place Champions: Pink Fluffly Unicorns from Wy’east Middle School and Hydro Automatons from Hood River.
  • Overall 2nd Place Champions: Team Water Works from Colonel Wright Elementary and R.U.S.H. from Hood River Middle School.
  • Additional top teams that advanced to the state tournament: The Jawbreakers and Fusion X from Wasco County 4-H, Klick 1 from Klickitat School, the Hydrobots from Wy’east Middle School, Reigning Wizards from the Gorge, The Hydro Hipsters from May Street Elementary and the Hydro Helpers from Mosier Community School.

Additional top awards were given to a number of teams for their outstanding performances in specific areas of the competition:

  • Core Values Award: The Hydrobots from Wy’east Middle School and The Hydro Hipsters from May Street Elementary.
  • Project Award:  Klick 2 from Klickitat School and the Hydro Helpers from Mosier Community School.
  • Robot Design Award: The Jawbreakers from Wasco County 4-H and the Reigning Wizards from the Gorge.
  • Robot Performance Award: The Hydrobots from Wy’east Middle School and Hydro Automatons from Hood River.
  • Rising Star Award: Water Warriors from Colonel Wright Elementary and Team Genesis from Hermiston.

For more information about youth robotics in the Gorge, visit or contact Jessica Metta with the GTA at 541-296-2266 or