PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There has been a huge emphasis recently on the fields of science, technology, engineering and math — starting as early as preschool.

And that early start is paying off, literally, for hundreds of local students.

More than a thousand students from all around western Pennsylvania were at Heinz Field over the weekend, but their visit had nothing to do with football.

“There were over 1,100 students competing in the science fair this year, which is incredible,” said Paige Kassalen, of Covestro. “The amount of scholarships, and then just the sharing and learning from each other is going to be so exciting for all of the students to take back and keep pushing further.”

The students were competing in a science fair.

“Over a million dollars in scholarships is being given out,” Kassalen said. “That is just so exciting because, again, this is going to the future innovators who are going to invent our future.”

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Some awards were cash, others as college scholarships, which were handed out to the winners of the Carnegie Science Center’s 78th annual Science Fair.

The students researched big concepts, like analyzing human genes and fighting breast cancer.

“When I walked in and I saw all of these chairs, all I could think about is all of these young people that are going to be the innovators of the future,” Kassalen said.

Students from Fort Cherry, Fox Chapel and Allderdice will move on to the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles.

Covestro, the company formerly known as Bayer Material Science, was proud to highlight their accomplishments.

“I am so glad that Covestro is so passionate about inspiring so many young minds, girls and boys, and also their employees about STEM fields,” Kassalen said.

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