Thousands of youth from across the state and region participate in the program, sparking interest in science and technology


Endi Hartigan; Communications Associate, OUS; Office: 503-725-7205

Cathy Swider, Project Administrator, OUS; Office: 503-725-2920; Cell: 971-219-1020 

January 23, 2013: The Oregon University System (OUS) is pleased to announce the eight state champions of the 12thannual Intel Oregon FIRST LEGO League Championship Tournaments, presented by Rockwell Collins, held on January 19-20, 2013 at Liberty High School in Hillsboro. This event brought together 117 teams from across the state and region who have excelled in the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) pre-engineering program, a program which helps young students explore technical fields and careers at an early age. Oregon boasts one of the largest youth robotics programs for its population in the country, and education and industry representatives are delighted by this burgeoning youth interest in technology and engineering.

“Intel is proud to support the Intel FIRST LEGO League program because we believe that it not only teaches lifelong skills--such as problem-solving--but it also ignites a passion for science and math in young students," said Jill Eiland, Intel's Northwest Region Corporate Affairs Manager. "Talent in those areas is critical to the future success of Intel and the economic prosperity of Oregon and the U.S.”

For the last 12 years, the Oregon Robotics Tournament & Outreach Program (ORTOP) has offered the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL), one of several successful STEM education initiatives that are supported by OUS. Oregon technology corporations and industry associations collaborate with the OUS, hundreds of volunteers, and major youth organizations to implement the program.This weekend’s tournaments brought together the top 117 teams from around Oregon and SW Washington who excelled at qualifying tournaments in December 2012. Each team of 9-14 year olds constructed and programmed their LEGO robot to compete on various robot missions, presented research on this year’s theme, and demonstrated their work to three panels of judges. The theme for this year’s tournaments was “Senior Solutions,” which prompted each team to tie their technology interests into a contemporary issue, and to research and develop an innovative solution to improve the quality of life for senior citizens by helping them continue to be independent, engaged, and connected in their communities.

First place for the Intel Oregon Champion’s Award, the most prestigious award of the competition, went to two Portland-area co-champion teams: Lego Pie-on Ears from ACCESS Academy, and Lego Technos from the Bethany neighborhood. This award recognizes the team that is strongest in all three categories: robot design, the research project, and core values. The winners will advance to the FLL World Festival to be held in St. Louis, Missouri in April or the North American Open FLL Championship at LEGOLAND in Carlsbad, California in May. The second-place Intel Oregon Champion’s Awards went to the Celsius from Hood River Middle School and Catlin Gabel Team Sigma from Portland’s Catlin Gabel School. The third-place Champion’s Awards were given to Awesome Aliens, a neighborhood team from Hillsboro, and RAABS from the Bethany neighborhood. Fourth place Champion’s Awards were given to G2CS RobotChiX, a computer science team for girls in Beaverton, and NXT Gen, also from the Bethany neighborhood. In addition, Oregon teams walked away this weekend winning many impressive category and subcategory awards made possible by Oregon companies, included awards for outstanding first-year “rookie” teams and young teams in fifth grade or under. For more details on the top awards, see the attached chart, and for a listing of all awards including subcategories, go to  

The winning teams were proud of their accomplishments and excited also by the impact that technology can have in the “real” world. For their research project, the Lego Pie-on-Ears— including students Sameer Suri, Alessandro Bifulco, Ashok Kaushik, Hanson Ma, Adit Gupta and coach Himanshu Suri — presented technology for a cane that senses obstacles and also acts as claw for extended reach for senior citizens. The Lego Technos —including Alex Tharappel, Keshav Siddhartha, Pratheek Makineni, Gokul Kolady, Jonas Cisneros, and coach Francis Tharappel— designed the prototype of an automated pill dispenser, after learning about the challenges seniors face in keeping track of multiple medications. The theme of technology improving lives resounded widely, with some students seeing science and technology in their future careers. Keshav Siddhartha of the Lego Technos said, “I am proud that we were able to work as a team and solve the technical problems with the robot mission challenges. I learned that everybody needs to contribute to the team, not just yourself, and to have success you need teamwork. When I grow up I would like to be an engineer because I love technology, and because of FIRST I’m able to follow my dream.” Ashok Kaushik, a member of Lego Pie-on-Ears, explained that the experience helped to make classroom lessons more real: “I used to be one of those kids who like math and science, but did not understand how they applied in real life. Through FLL, I saw ways to apply what I had learned into practice.”

In December 2012, over 3000 students on 436 teams participated in qualifying tournaments in Oregon and SW Washington, including teams from home schools, public schools, private schools, and local communities. Thetop 25% of these teams competed at this weekend’s championships. Each team is made up of four to ten students ages 9-14 who are given about twelve weeks to prepare for the tournament, including construction, design, and programming of a small robot, and completion of the required scientific research. The teams used off-the-shelf LEGO robotics kits to construct working robots, each of which is customized uniquely. Each year, FLL defines a challenge theme that drives team activities. In this year's Senior Solutions challenge, the teams also worked with a senior partner form their community as part of their research and challenge to improve the quality of life for seniors. They developed a presentation describing what they learned about challenges, and what they recommend to address the problems they have discovered and described. On tournament day, the teams compete with their robots, with the goal to complete as many missions as possible on a 4-foot by 8-foot playing field, present and discuss aspects of their research with judges, and showcase their teamwork skills.

Bruce Schafer, director of industry affairs for OUS, said “This weekend’s teams were so impressive; I have no doubt that Oregon’s top future engineers and scientists were among us. Congratulations to all team members and coaches for the many hours preparing for and participating in this weekend’s tournaments. Tremendous thanks to our title sponsor, Intel, to all our corporate and community sponsors, and to the hundreds of tireless mentors and volunteers who have helped hundreds of students discover their interests in technology.”

ORTOP thanks its generous sponsors for this event, including Intel in Oregon, the title sponsor; Rockwell Collins, the presenting sponsor; Google/Tides Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, platinum sponsors; Garmin, the Oregon University System and Vernier Software, gold sponsors; IBM, ONAMI (Oregon Nanoscience & Microtechnologies Institute), Performance Health Technology, and Timbercon, silver sponsors; as well as all its supporting community sponsors and volunteers. Thanks to the generosity of these sponsors, over 30% of this year’s teams received a scholarship to help them get started or to continue their participation.

For more information on the program go to


Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. For additional information, go to

Awards: Intel Oregon FIRST LEGO League Championship Tournaments
January 19 & 20, 2013
For a listing of all awards, including subcategories, go to  


Team Name




Coaches , Adult Volunteers

Intel Oregon Champion’s Award, 1st Place: Day 1

Lego Pie-on-Ears

ACCESS Academy


Sameer Suri, Alessandro Bifulco, Ashok Kaushik, Hanson Ma, Adit Gupta

Himanshu Suri, Anand Kaushik, Bharti Gupta

Intel Oregon Champion’s Award, 1st Place: Day 2

Lego Technos

Bethany neighborhood


Alex Tharappel, Keshav Siddhartha, Pratheek Makineni, Gokul Kolady, and Jonas Cisneros

Francis Tharappel, Kris Kolady, Srihari Makineni, Siil Romachadran

Intel Oregon Champion’s Award, 2nd Place: Day 1


Hood River Middle School

Hood River

Daisy Dolan, Leia Paul, Lucy Fine, Morgan Totten, Margaret Totten, Emma Ozounian, Ella Van Cott, Claire Oswald

John Fine, Joe Dolan, Barry Paul, Dave Ozanian

Intel Oregon Champion’s Award, 2nd Place: Day 2

Catlin Gabel Team Sigma

Catlin Gabel School


Not available

Dale Yocum

Intel Oregon Champion’s Award, 3rd Place: Day 1

Awesome Aliens

Neighborhood team


Alaria Wilson, Dominic Wilson, Matteus Wilson, Zach Everton

Russ Wilson, Eric Wilson, Jennilyn Wilson, Joe Everton

Intel Oregon Champion’s Award, 3rd Place: Day 2


Bethany neighborhood


Richard Jiang, Aaron Sha, Bryan Lee, Silu Men, Andrew Yang

Zhikui Ren, Bo Li, Mingwen Jiang

Intel Oregon Champion’s Award, 4th Place: Day 1


Bethany neighborhood


Amogh B. Pradeep, Jake Chvatal, Eric Chvatal, Benjamin Asbury, Hemen, Khanna, Tyrel Wallace

Pradeep Satyanarayana, Craig Chvatal, Christine Chvatal, R. Khanna

Intel Oregon Champion’s Award, 4th Place: Day 2

G2CS RobotChiX

Girls Gather for Computer Science


Amy Frie, Aysa Klocke, Cienna Wall, Claire Edington

Stan Wall, Brent Edington, Vibeke Klocke

IBM Software and Technology Young Team Award: Day 1

The Chargers

Westside neighborhood

Hood River

Joshua Nardone, Maverick Geller, Tanner Whitmore, Clayton Lee, Kevin Johnston

Joe Nardone, Marc Geller, Dave Whitmore

ONAMI Software and Technology Young Team Award: Day 2

Lego Cyborgs

Bethany neighborhood


Rahul Bhatt, Justin Bruss, Arjun Jain, Siddarth Menon, Bhargav Sunkara

Ramachandra Sunkara, Ashu Jain, Sudhir Menon

PH Tech Rookie
Team Award: Day 1

Red Bananabots

Union Junior High


Delanie Kohr, Klancy Poor, Rylee Montgomery, Wade Rynearson, Kortnee Marriott

Greg Poor

Timbercon Rookie
Team Award: Day 2


Bethany neighborhood


Rohan Kumar, Pratik Vangal, Rahul Mahesh, Chetan Chilkunda

Sriram Vangal, Pavan Kumar


The Champion's Award is the most prestigious of the awards. This award recognizes a team that embodies the FLL experience, by fully embracing the program’s Core Values while achieving excellence and innovation in both the Robot Game and Project. It encompasses teams with strong, balanced performance across the judging categories of robot design, project and core values and also scored in the top 40% on the robot game. The IBM/ONAMI Young Team Award is like the Champion’s Award except that it is restricted to teams made up of children in fifth grade or younger, who had a strong, balanced performance in robot design, project and core values. PH Tech /TImbercon Rookie Team Award is like the Champion’s Award except that it is restricted to teams that have never participated in an FLL in a previous season. They also had a strong, balanced performance in robot design, project and core values.