SALEM, Va (WFXR) — Roanoke College and Salem High School’s Spartan robotics team co-hosted an off-season FIRST robotics competition on Saturday, Oct. 10.

Students had the chance to get a firsthand look into the engineering industry– while learning valuable skills in problem-solving and teamwork.

Student-led high school teams coded robots to play field games against opposing bots–the robots were able to throw balls, zoom around the court, and even do pull-ups on a bar. Younger students built and competed with Lego robots as well.

Students at the event said STEM programs are often scarce in rural areas and if they do have one, many require help from outside agencies. They say competitions like this allow students to continue sharpening their skills.

Volunteers like Dr. Cathy Sarisky say they want more kids to know about opportunities in STEM.

“My older child is on a team competing with the big robots and my younger child is on one of the Lego teams and we want more people to see this because we want to get this opportunity out to more kids,” said Sarisky.

Volunteers say their goal every year — is to show young people how exciting STEM can be.