ORTOP Newsletter 
September 2016
In this issue:   ORTOP News  |  ORTOP Spotlights
     ORTOP News
Welcome . This is the first issue of ORTOP's new electronic newsletter. We have developed it to help keep our teams, volunteers, sponsors and supporters up to date. It will be published about once a month and will grow and evolve in the coming months.

Our purpose is to support the mission of ORTOP: “To open doors to the worlds of science, technology, engineering and mathematics for Oregon’s youth by providing educational opportunities featuring robotics with special emphasis on maximizing the diversity of those participating.”  

We invite you, our readers, to submit articles that you feel would interest our readers. For more information see writer’s guidelines.

Allyn Vannoy, Editor  
Terry Hamm, Assistant Editor
Williane Tenca, Assistant Editor
ORTOP takes on significant responsibilities for FIRST Robotics Competition in Oregon

On June 30, 2016, ORTOP entered into an agreement with FIRST Washington of Kent, Washington. The agreement details how the two organizations will work together to support FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams in Oregon. 

FIRST Washington will continue to be primarily responsible for the production of FIRST Robotics Competition events in Washington and Oregon, to include district events each winter and a district championship in early spring.

ORTOP will support approximately 50 FIRST Robotics Competition teams in Oregon and help Oregon high schools and youth organizations create new teams. ORTOP will also work directly with FRC donors and sponsors across Oregon. 

This change represents an integration because, for the first time, four FIRST robotics programs will be supported by a single organization. The programs are:        
  • FIRST LEGO League Junior for youth from kindergarten to 4th grade
  • FIRST LEGO League for youth from 4th to 8th grade
  • FIRST Tech Challenge for youth from 7th to 12th grade
  • FIRST Robotics Competition for youth from 9th to 12th grade
With this integration ORTOP now supports about 900 teams statewide including teams in nearly every county in Oregon.

Bruce Schafer, ORTOP Executive Director
Staff changes at ORTOP

Most of you know Cathy Swider and Loridee Wetzel. Cathy started volunteering with ORTOP in 2001 and became a staff member in 2005. Currently she focuses on FIRST Tech Challenge as our Senior Program Manager. Loridee joined us in September 2015 as our Program Manager for FIRST LEGO League and FIRST LEGO League Junior.

Jacie Fortune joined us about a year ago as our Project Assistant. She works with Cathy, Loridee and the rest of the team to support all of our programs.

Keala Cottrell is a member of the AmeriCorps VISTA program and has been working with ORTOP since last fall to help address the needs of economically disadvantaged communities.

Al Vannoy joined us this June as our first Encore Fellow. Encore is a program of Social Venture Partners. As an Intel retiree he is working half-time for a year as our e-Communications Manager.

Cindy Lebeau joined us in July as our Development Director and is focusing on recruiting sponsors for all FIRST programs in Oregon. Cindy was previously FIRST’s Regional Director for Oregon.

Debbie Kerr remains FIRST’s Senior Mentor in Oregon. She is working closely with ORTOP to support and recruit FIRST Robotics Competition teams.

Bruce Schafer, ORTOP Executive Director
     ORTOP Spotlights
FIRST® Robotics Competition
What to look for in October

FIRST Robotics Competition will host three ‘off season’ events in October. Each event will help teams to train new members, teach new skills, and refine existing skills. These events will include both Rookie and Veteran teams. 

Percentage of 2016 ACT-Tested high school graduates meeting ACT college readiness benchmarks by subject

FIRST Tech Challenge Kickoff!  

SAVE THE DATE! The FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC) 2016-2017 season game will be our most incredible game yet. Mark your calendars for our Saturday, September 10th Kickoff! Team members, mentors, volunteers, sponsors and the public are invited for the 2016 FIRST Tech Challenge Game Reveal.  

FIRST Tech Challenge Oregon will host four kickoff events beginning at 9:00 am.

Are you ready to ROAR?  

On August 30th, FIRST® LEGO® League® launched its newest challenge - ANIMAL ALLIES, introduced at the Oregon State Fair this season to teams and those interested in learning more. Joining the teams at the kickoff were Oregon Head Referee, Tom Mosher, and Oregon Head Judge Advisor, Ben Manny, to bring words of advice on this year’s project and challenge table.  

WeDo Programming Now!  

Starting this season, FIRST® LEGO® League Jr® is emphasizing the importance of programming to our youngest engineers. It is all part of a group of changes to introduce the engineering experience to kindergarten through 4th grade students, and includes all new curriculum for both coaches and team members.

Autodesk Interns Deliver Next Generation of Robot Simulation Software

Lake Oswego, August 25, 2016 - It’s been a busy summer for 13 high school interns in Autodesk’s Lake Oswego office, working on Synthesis , a robotics simulation product. The interns, all from FIRST robotics teams, come from across the Pacific Northwest.

First Tech Federal Credit Union | Flir | Puppet Labs |  Cascade Microtech | Performance Health Technology | Vernier Software and Technology |  IBM | Microchip | Applied Materials Foundation | ONAMI-Business Oregon | Timbercon | Oregon  International Airshow | ESI | FEI | Masonic Lodge #110 | Portland Community Media |
OMSI | Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

     Internet News
Google’s Eric Schmidt says AI will make him smarter, cooler

“The next big thing in tech is going to be AI.” That’s what a lot of people in Silicon Valley have been saying lately. Add one more to the list: former Google CEO Eric Schmidt. 

Robotics: Facts
What are Robots?

Robot comes from the Czech word “robota” which means “forced work or labor.” We use the word “Robot” today to mean any man-made machine that can perform work or other actions normally performed by humans, either automatically or by remote control. Robotics is the science and study of robots.

Robot-Like machines helped people with spinal injuries regain function

Researchers in Brazil who are trying to help people with spine injuries gain mobility have made a surprising discovery: Injured people doing brain training while interacting with robot-like machines were able to regain some sensation and movement.

Inspiring the next generation of female engineers: Debbie Sterling at TEDxPSU

Close your eyes and picture an engineer. You probably weren't envisioning Debbie Sterling. Debbie Sterling is an engineer and founder of GoldieBlox, a toy company out to inspire the next generation of female engineers. She has made it her mission in life to tackle the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and math.


FTC Kickoff
FLL Kickoff
OMSI Mini-Maker Fair

FRC Business Roundtable
FRC Girls Generation 

November - December
FTC League Meets

FRC Girl Fest - Girl Scouts
FRC Mentor Roundtable

FLL Qualifiers
FRC Bunnybots 

FRC Kickoff
FLL Championships
FTC Qualifying Tournaments
FTC League Qualifiers 

FTC Super Qualifiers
FTC Championship

March - April
FRC District Tournaments
FRC Pacific Northwest District Championship

March - July
Various other outreach events
FLL Junior Expos
How you can become involved

   At a tournament
   At an outreach event
   As a mentor or coach of a team
   Become the one to open the door and inspire young minds to be involved in STEM
   Help fund these amazing programs

Registration is Open!
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