Thirteen-year-old Samuel Alaniz loses focus for a quick second as he speaks up about something that is on his mind.

"Do you all have a server in here?" he asks the reporter conducting his interview, who tells him it is in the room next door.

Intrigued, Samuel gets up and takes a peek into the office where the server computer is located and sees a jumble of wires and computer equipment joined together in a seemingly chaotic mess of hardware. To Samuel, though, there's only one word to describe it.

"Cool," he says as he sits back down into his chair.

His mother, Myra Alaniz, flashes a quick smile at her son as he takes his seat.

"It's taken a lot of dedication from him to get here," Myra says.

"Here" is Samuel's participation in the Corpus Christi Pre-Engineering Program, which held a showcase event Monday at Del Mar College's East Campus. Samuel, who is an eighth grade student at Tuloso-Midway Middle School, along with other students from around South Texas, spent six weeks this summer learning about physics and computer logic.

The program also required that teams build robots, rockets and bridges.

"I found that it's interesting to put stuff together," Samuel says as his eyes search the computer sitting on a desk next to him.

"He's always been like that, since he was little," Myra says about her son's love for everything technology.

And even though this was only his first year in the program, which is available at Del Mar College during the summer, Samuel already knows what he wants to do for a living once school is behind him.

"I want to build airplanes," he says with a grin.

His mother interjects, noticeably nervous about her son's career goals.

"I told him he should work on building the simulators, that way he can do both (fly and program) at the same time - plus, it's a lot safer," she adds.

Samuel takes his eyes away from the computer he was examining and looks over at his mother patiently, as if he had said his response many times before.

"I'd rather fly the real thing," he says.