ComEd selects 30 young women for 2018 STEM program

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LOCAL STUDENTS BUILT electric- and solar-powered race cars from recycled refrigerators, leveraging their craftsmanship, analytical skills and teamwork during ComEd’s 2017 Icebox Derby program.

When it comes to providing young women with a STEM learning experience that’s fun and educational, ComEd has a unique hands-on approach with its Icebox Derby program.

ComEd has selected 30 young women, ages 13 to 18, to participate in the 2018 Icebox Derby program that the energy company developed to encourage women to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and careers.

“STEM careers are the fastest growing, both in number of available jobs and salary. This is an opportunity for these teens to gain exposure to STEM fields while having a fun experience racing the cars – and for us at ComEd to work with up-and-coming innovators who may be our future colleagues,” said Terence R. Donnelly, president and COO, ComEd. “This year’s Icebox Derby competitors are a strong and talented group of young women from diverse backgrounds.”

For five years, the ComEd Icebox Derby has empowered 120 young women to explore careers in STEM to become the scientists and engineers of tomorrow by providing them learning opportunities, exposure to women professionals in STEM, and prizes. The participants include students from communities throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

In addition to powering homes, businesses, and institutions across northern Illinois, ComEd continues to lead the conversation on the value of science and technology education. Women make up 48 percent of the U.S. workforce, yet only 24 percent of jobs in STEM-related fields.

Throughout the Icebox Derby program, participants will work in teams to transform used refrigerators into electric- and solar-powered race cars. The fridges are collected through a ComEd program that picks up customers’ old working refrigerators for free, recycles them in an environmentally responsible way, and pays the customer $50.

The students will meet regularly over three weeks, from July 19 to Aug. 4, and work alongside ComEd mentors to build their cars. The cars will be equipped with software that provides real-time metrics that help the girls drive more safely and efficiently and monitor their speed and battery voltage. Each participant will receive a $1,500 scholarship.

The program will culminate with the race on Saturday, Aug. 4, at Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St., Chicago. The festivities will begin at noon, and admission is free for all. The winning team will earn bragging rights and the Icebox Derby STEM Cup. The race will test not only the girls’ speed and craftsmanship, but also their analytical skills and ability to work together to achieve a common goal.

Find out more about the program by visiting www.IceboxDerby.com. Interview requests are available for ComEd leadership, student mentors and select students.

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