By Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The innovators at Boeing in Ridley Park, Delaware County are getting a look at the industry’s future stars during this National Engineers Week: middle- and high-schoolers who are learning from, and teaching, their adult counterparts.

“So, right now, we have someone driving the robot.”

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Part of Boeing’s cafeteria has gone to the robots, and students like seniors Shivani Sowmyan and Joshua Sizer, whose Wissahickon High School team is among the creators.

“It’s amazing what this organization has opened up — all the opportunities,” Sizer says. “I’d probably not be as interested in engineering, had it not been for this club.”

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As part of the six-week-long FIRST Robotics Competition, they build and tinker and refine after school and on weekends.

“We want them to be dissatisfied with the way things are because they need to be advancing,” says Daniel Newman, senior technical fellow in aircraft development at Boeing, which sponsors student FIRST teams. “They need to understand where we’ve been so they can take the next leap. And it’s pretty exciting to see what’s coming.”

Engineers mentor students like Sowmyan, who has used the program to map out her own path.

“It’s taught me a lot about STEM and has inspired me to be an engineer when I go to college,” she says.

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