The GEAR Alliance
Our mission is to provide an inclusive environment for teaching and inspiring students through mentor-based science & technology programs that engage students technically through instruction and real-world engineering challenges, and socially through teamwork, community service, and leadership.
Sporting competitions seem to be what we obsess over, frankly. So if we can put engineering, science, technology into a format of healthy, fun competition, we can attract all sorts of kids that might not see the kind of activity we do as accessible or rewarding.
– Dean Kamen
The GEAR Alliance is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to inspiring young people to pursue STEM careers through competitive robotics. We are passionate about increasing the number of students entering science and engineering knowing hands-on experiential education is transformative.
The GEAR Alliance is a 501(c)(3) organization formed in 2015 to support K-12 robotics teams in Longmont, Colorado. Our teams compete in FIRST national robotics competitions. FIRST was founded by inventor Dean Kamen (inventor of the Segway) and its purpose is to inspire all youth, especially minorities and women, to pursue STEM related post-secondary education that can lead to technology sector jobs. We share FIRST’s vision “The hardest fun you’ll ever have”. We strive to teach our students the value of hard work, discipline, teamwork, and to provide lasting and meaningful relationships with engineering mentors. Because our mentors work in the technology industry, we understand the pressing national need for an educated workforce, and the need to increase the number of minorities and women in the workplace. We therefore reach out to those students who wouldn’t normally consider an engineering career.
Competitive robotics competitions share many of the aspects of traditional high school sports, it is the ultimate “sport-of-the-mind.” Students work long, hard hours to prepare their robots for regional competitions. Teamwork is critical; teams are given challenges each year that are purposely designed to be very difficult, with too little time to execute. The pressure simulates a real engineering experience. Students must carefully assess their limited resources and make crucial decisions that will determine their success in competitive play. Many hours are spent designing and fabricating custom parts. Students assemble, wire and code the robot. Robot drivers and field players practice long hours before events. Strategy teams scout the competition, pouring over match videos and scouring discussion forums to give their team an advantage in forming alliances. In the process, students learn valuable workplace skills.