More than 300 elementary and middle school students from the area got the opportunity to learn about all kinds of different opportunities in engineering, from computer coding and encryption to actual rocket science.

"You can do anything with STEM," said Emily Awad, an aeronautical engineering and mechanical engineering student at RPI.

Awad co-chaired Saturday's "Exploring Engineering Day" at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The event gave kids a hands-on opportunity to see what kinds of careers they may be interested in as they get older.

"The kids are the future so, you know, if we want engineers in the future and we want to see the STEM field continue to grow the way it is, it's important to get the kids exposed and let them get this feeling of how cool it is to be an engineer," Awad said.

Duncan Stowell, of Clifton Park, said that's exactly why he brought his nine-year-old daughter Penelope to the event.

"She's very good in math and science and with RPI being close to here and having this, it was a great opportunity for her to get with other kids her age and see how fun science is and how much a part it is of our every day life," Stowell said.

Organizers said nearly half of the kids signed up were girls, and the program is hosted by the Society of Women Engineers at RPI. 

"Engineering is for everybody," Awad said. "It's not just for the boys."

Parents and students agree, getting women interested in STEM in particular is incredibly important.

"For the longest time women have not been in STEM, so now there's this whole gap in the field of engineering and in STEM in general," Awad said. "And it's very male-dominated, so it's very important to teach the girls at a young age, you can do this too."

In additional to all the young girls signed up, organizers say 30 percent of the students were from diverse backgrounds.