ComEd challenges girls to think outside the ‘icebox’

ComEd icebox derby elp

ComEd is proud to announce the success of its second annual Icebox Derby Race Day, a program focused on promoting women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Thirty young women took part in this competition earlier today at The Chicago Field Museum, and one team — Flaming Zing – emerged the victors, followed by the runners-up Ice Bolts.

Over the course of four-weeks, thirty industrious young women worked in teams to build electric racecars from recycled refrigerators, sourced from ComEd’s Refrigerator and Freezer Recycling Program. Today, the project came to an exciting finish, as they raced their vehicles against one another and competed in a series of STEM challenges that tested their skills, teamwork and mental fortitude.

ComEd launched the Icebox Derby in 2014 as a creative, hands-on educational experience to inspire young women to pursue careers in STEM. With the support of community partners the Chicago Urban League, Girls4Science, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana and Operation PUSH, this local effort provides an opportunity for girls ages 13-18 to work closely with mentors – ComEd technical experts and graduate students from six local universities – and learn about practical applications of STEM in the world and in the workforce.

“As Illinois’ largest utility, ComEd is dedicated to delivering safe and reliable electric service to our millions of customers. But we are also focused on powering progress and the people in our communities. The Icebox Derby is one of our most important efforts to engage girls at a young age in a STEM experience and to encourage girls to develop themselves to become part of our workforce of the future,” said Anne Pramaggiore, president and CEO of ComEd. “We are so proud of these girls and the great things they’ve accomplished in a few short weeks. I am personally inspired by the level of intelligence and enthusiasm they have brought to this competition, and thankful to their family and friends whose support has empowered them to be here with us today.”

Each ComEd Icebox Derby participant – and the local graduate student mentors involved with the program – received a $1,000 scholarship. The members of winning team Flaming Zing each received a Macbook Air, along with all-expenses-paid admission to a weeklong technology camp. At the onset of the program, ComEd pledged to contribute additional funding for the Icebox Derby participants, fueled by public support. By sharing one of the Icebox Derby videos using #IceboxDerby and the video link, the public helped raise up to $70,000 in the ComEd “Spark Fund”.

Amandla Stenberg, Hollywood actress best known for her portrayals of Rue in The Hunger Games and young Cataleya in Colombiana, co-hosted the event. Attendees of Icebox Derby Race Day included ComEd executives and Icebox Derby team mentors, representatives from community partners and sponsors, local business and community leaders, STEM-focused graduate students at local universities, as well as participants’ family and friends and the general public.

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