Girls are racing towards careers in STEM through competitive programming this summer.
In February 2023, ComEd announced their 2023 EV Rally, with 45 high school girls from Chicago and the surrounding suburbs competing to build and drive electric-powered go-karts to encourage the next generation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Each participant receives a $2,000 scholarship.
“ComEd is committed to improving the representation of women and people of color in the STEM fields, and we are excited to connect these driven young women with leaders throughout ComEd who are looking to inspire the next generation of the STEM workforce,” said Michelle Blaise, senior vice president of technical services at ComEd. “The future depends on these STEM leaders to develop and champion clean energy technology, fight the effects of climate change and support transportation electrification—and this program is sure to spark the interest of these young women.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, women only made up 27% of the STEM workforce in 2019. Women of color were especially underrepresented, with Black, Latina and Indigenous women only holding 10% of these roles, per a report from the National Girls Collaborative Project, a group aiming to diversify the STEM industries.
While ComEd’s EV Rally is only open for Illinois residents, other programs designed to promote women and girls in STEM exist around the country. Space Center Houston offers five installments of gender-specific programming to build confidence in construction and problem solving, STEM Stars serves middle-school girls in Pittsburgh with STEM skill-building activities and FIRST LEGO offers programming for children starting in Pre-K and up. And because fostering an interest in STEM is one key to promoting the electrical trade, some STEM programs focus specifically on electrical work, such as the Girl Scouts’ Power Girls program in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
Through collaboration with peers to work on a common goal, hands-on construction of the vehicles and mentorship with industry leaders, these girls are breaking barriers.
This contest is open to girls ages 13 to 18, enrolled in grades 7 to 12. Entry opened on Feb. 20 and runs until June 1. The program will conclude in July, when the participants race their go-kart vehicles at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry on July 29.
All photos courtesy of ComEd