POLASKI COUNTY, Va. (WFXR)- Today, around 140 STEM students and educators from Montgomery and Pulaski Counties, as well as Radford City were invited to the Volvo Trucks’ assembly plant in Dublin.

The students are STEM middle school and high schoolers who have participated in the First Tech Challenge. The First Tech Challenge is a competition focused in engineering and robotics. Teams design, build, and program robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams.

Touring the facility enabled the students to connect their competition and classroom knowledge to modern technology and manufacturing, as well as discover potential career opportunities.

This is the first time students have toured the facility.

You do not know what you’re missing if you’ve never been exposed to it, so we have the opportunity here to have a large facility, we have lots of interesting processes, why not share it? Why not show them the things that they are working with at school?

Franky Marchand, Vice President and General Manager, the Volvo Group

Show them, they did. Sales Engineer, Channing Mitchell served as a guide to students from Pulaski County schools. The tour included 3D printing, robotics, and even virtual reality.

We’re showing them around the plant today and kind of how what they’re doing in their challenge this year could impact what they do in the future.

Channing Mitchell, Sales Engineer, the Volvo Group

Pulaski County High School Senior, Raaj Aggarwal’s fervor for STEM could be seen during the tour. He asked questions along the way, and was attentive in taking in the knowledge and experience.

I think that more people should get to know what STEM is, and get motivated to do STEM. These kinds of hands-on activities really get people to get motivated to pursue engineering and technology, and that kind of thing.

Raaj Aggarwal, Pulaski County High School Senior

Pulaski County middle school student, Alyssa Capretta was excited to find out that there are opportunities in technology close to home.

Being a part of the robotics team, since then, I’ve wanted to be a robotic engineer and programmer, and being at Volvo has shown me different opportunities that I could do around here.

Alyssa Capretta, Pulaski County Middle School Eighth grader

The appreciation of the local STEM students could certainly be seen today at Volvo.