SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Cynthia Padilla is a tenth-grade student at the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central (ITC). This fall she will pursue a degree in electrical engineering.

“I want to work with electrical, mechanical things so like building circuits, technology, and I want to be able to make a future off of that off robotics,” Padilla said.

It’s something she’s been interested in for a while. “In sixth grade, I started robotics,” Padilla explained.

She was joined by other students from her school and from across the Syracuse City School District for signing day at Onondaga Community College. They committed to pursuing degrees through the Pathways in Technology Early College High School program, also known as P-TECH.

“There’s study after study done, particularly with eighth-graders, eighth-grade college readiness pieces, so giving them the tools early on puts that in their brain, hey I did this, I can do this again,” said Marianna Maliani, Onondaga Community College’s Early College High School Coordinator.

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity OCC and SCSD provides for me. i can’t wait to graduate and work as an actual engineer,” said ITC student Ahmad Alawaad.

Kiamesha Cotton just graduated from OCC and participated in P-TECH. She shared advice for the next class.

“It’s okay to be scared and nervous,” Cotton added, “Take your time try to go at your own pace, but be prepared for the pace the college courses are at because it is fast, it is very fast.”

A total of 63 Syracuse high school students are pursuing degrees in the fall, not just at OCC, but also SUNY Broome and Mohawk Valley Community College.