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Oklahoma high schoolers showing off skills in robotics competition

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Robots are taking over the Cox Convention Center for a high tech competition.

Students from more than 60 schools are all vying to build the best bot as part of the 'FIRST Robotics Competition.'

Organizers said competitors come from all over the state, region and even Mexico to go head-to-head against future professionals.

"We have six weeks to building a fully functional robot," said Michael VanDusen, a junior at Memorial High School.

Each student gets a full kit of parts worth about $4,000 to create a robot, but they have the option to add their own personal flair to the machine.

"There's not really any hard feelings here. Everyone is trying to help everyone else and, if your robot breaks, I go over and help them,” said Hannah Liao, who is a senior at a home school.

It was all started by the founder of the Segway, who wanted to inspire youth to get in the industry.

"Women [are] a particular focus of ours, to give them opportunities they wouldn't normally have," said Gabrielle Golden, staff member at FIRST.

"We really like to bring girls into it. We like to break the stereotype of engineering is for boys," said Kaitlin Johnson, a student at Newcastle High School.

Organizers said they hope the competitors will strive toward careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

"I'm going to go into physical therapy because, to me, it's like the ultimate robot. There's a lot of similarities between the systems,” Liao said.

"Growing up, this stuff really interested me like building and taking apart things. I mostly took apart things,” VanDusen said.