20,000 students in St. Louis for robotics competition

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Brianna DeGroot can thank robots for helping her decide her major in college. "I know for a fact that it is the only reason I went to S & T and why I have really been interested in engineering."

The freshman at Missouri S & T was showing off the Mars rover she helped work on while at school. Just last year while still in high school, she was the lead systems engineer for Westminster Christian Academy working in these pits.

"The pits as I like to think of them, sort of like a NASCAR pit if you will. We bring everything that we need to work on the robot." said Boeing Senior Manager of Engineering Tim Terlouw.

Boeing sponsors some teams like Westminster who are competing in this year's FIRST Robotics championship. Twenty thousand students are in St. Louis this week taking part in the robotic roundup, and next year is expected to be even bigger.

"Our FLL levels will be moving over to the Renaissance, I believe the grand ballrooms. And our FTC will be moving onto Union Station." said volunteer Ellen Swift.

The Edward Jones Dome and America's Center will still be sprawling with circuit boards, spare parts and electronics next year. The science, technology, engineering and mathematical marvels that make up this competition will continue opening doors towards a STEM future.

"I can see several of these kids having jobs at Boeing in the future and not just in engineering but in business and all aspects." said Tim Terlouw.

That's encouraging for this future engineer.

"There are more and more girls on campus every year and it's such an encouragement to see more girls becoming a part of engineering. And it's such an encouragement to see all the little girls interested in lego leagues and FTC teams interested in engineering because it really motivates other girls to get involved as well." said Brianna De Groot.

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