By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Recruiting a new generation of scientists and engineers by way of robots.

Alex DeMetrick reports, designing and building robots for fun is opening doors to future high tech careers.

This past weekend had people on their feet and cheering at a Bethesda High School, as teams put their robots to the test.

This spring, 3,000 students from schools across Maryland and Virginia will enter these kinds of competitions.

But its more than fun. There’s a lot of learning going on, too.

Knowledge that tech companies are encouraging by funding the contests. Science, technology, engineering and math, known as STEM programs, are opening young eyes to new possibilities.

“I had no idea what I wanted to major in in college, no idea where I wanted to go with my life, and it showed me how much I enjoy engineering and it gave me a path,” says Sam Spelsberg, one of the competitors.

Those tech companies, along with federal agencies like NASA, donate more than $20 million nationwide for the events.

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