GTA’s first STEAM Career Day succeeds

The Gorge Technology Alliance held its first-ever STEAM Career Day for students in the region April 25 in The Dalles.

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. All seventh-graders in the five-county GTA region (Hood River, Wasco, Sherman, Skamania and Klickitat counties) were invited and around 800 participated with their schools.

“As I told the students at the beginning of the day, the Gorge Tech Alliance hosted this event because our tech businesses love to hire people that grew up in the Gorge,” says Jessica Metta, GTA executive director. “Today was meant to inspire the students to reach for some of the jobs available here.”

The day started with presentations from students at CGCC and Oregon State about what it’s like to go to college. Students then broke into smaller groups for presentations and hands on activities with 16 different Gorge businesses or CGCC programs.

“We couldn’t have done it without the willingness of the presenters to give up the majority of their work day,” Metta said. Presenters included Google, Insitu, CGCC Renewable Energy Technology Program, CGCC Health Sciences Program, Pageworks Design, Laughing Deva Productions, Lines of Design, Ray Perkins Photography, Real Carbon, Hire Electric Solar/ IBEW 48, Integrated 3D, Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue, Hoverlabs, Columbia Gorge Regional Airport, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital and Custom Interface.

“A few of the school districts — Brent Emmons and Patricia Cooper from Hood River County and Tim McGlothlin from North Wasco County — really helped us plan the event and stressed the need to have some creative careers, which is where the ‘A’ in STEAM came from.”

Other event planners included Ann Harris with OSU Open Campus and Suzanne Burd and Jeff Nicol with CGCC.

“We support school groups coming to the CGCC campus regularly,” says Burd, “so it was a natural fit. Today was the most we’ve had at any one time, though!”

Students watched a small 3-D printer in action and multicopters being flown, went inside an ambulance and Insitu’s control truck, learned the importance of story development in videography and much more.

“The feedback we received was wonderful,” says Harris. “I didn’t have opportunities like this when I was growing up. If even just one student decides to pursue a career in these areas as a result of today, I think we’ll all consider it a success.”

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