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How an IceBox Derby Is Enhancing STEM Education

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U.S. companies have long decried a lack of qualified applicants and an under-representation of women in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) occupations. Yet, these skilled positions are essential to the future of innovation, our economy, and our energy.

Now, electric power industry leaders are taking new approaches to educate, inspire, and engage students in STEM. Created by the first female chief executive at Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd), the IceBox Derby challenges teams of young women to build their own battery-powered cars using recycled refrigerators and go-kart parts.

This year’s derby in Chicago immersed the teenagers in a hands-on learning experience—how to code, wire engines, install solar panels, and more. The car construction culminated in a race, with teams taking home prizes ranging from college scholarships to MacBook Airs.

“It’s one thing to sit in a classroom to decide if you like math or not,” said ComEd President and CEO Anne Pramaggiore. “But we see them not only learn about the technical aspects of building a car, they learn about leadership.”

The infrastructure of the future—including our energy grid and ongoing energy advances—count on the cultivation of these leaders. Educating and training students in STEM will drive our nation’s prosperity and resiliency—and help us build smarter energy infrastructure for generations to come.

What do you think about innovative approaches to STEM education and the importance of STEM jobs to America’s future? Tell us now!