ComEd Inspiring Students

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

By: Ashmar Mandou

As students navigate the new normal this summer, ComEd steps in to engage their attention with an array of STEM videos, virtual activities, and interactive experiments. Available for students K-12, the activities provide students with a robust understanding of energy and its application to their homes and communities. Shay Bahramirad, ComEd Vice President of Engineering and Smart Grid shares with our readers what students can expect from the ComEd STEM Program.

Lawndale Bilingual News: Students faced quite a challenge this school year, how can ComEd’s STEM activities benefit them this summer? 
Shay Bahramirad: They certainly did face a major challenge this year! As students spent the spring of 2020 adjusting to remote learning full-time, ComEd’s STEM programs offer an opportunity for students to learn important concepts in a fun way. The Power Challenge, in particular, helps students throughout ComEd’s service territory develop a wide range of skills that will benefit them this summer and beyond, including innovative idea development, teamwork, communication, research, and adaptability. We are so very impressed by the way past Power Challenge participants were able to pivot into virtual space with project development and team communication without missing a beat. And we are excited to showcase some of the innovative projects they developed.

What kind of activities should students expect to see? 
Students who participated in the Power Challenge and students across ComEd’s Service Territory can expect the high-quality, mentor-guided activities and projects they’ve participated in to continue throughout summer 2020 and beyond. ComEd is also launching a number of online programs including STEM Never Stops!, a series of engineer-led activities for both students and families to engage in together. Through STEM Never Stops! ComEd releases a fun and informative activity that includes targeted learning objectives and project deliverables, such as video submissions for completed projects.

Describe to me the importance of creating and executing a program like ComEd’s STEM Programs?
Especially today, when students are separate from each other, it’s important to remember the connections that link us. Beyond the content and concepts taught, this program allows ComEd engineers to model what it means to learn and be an engineer. The Power Challenge has given participating students the opportunity to learn how to build an idea from the ground up, building real-world technical skills, utilizing available resources and working together with teammates and mentors. Beyond the scholarship competition and networking opportunities, these students have been able to build confidence in energy-related STEM concepts that very well may lead to a lifelong passion and career in the energy industry.

What do you hope students gain from participating in the ComEd STEM activities? 
First and foremost, we hope that students who engage in ComEd STEM Programs like the Power Challenge walk away with a spark of inspiration, that this early interest in STEM continues and develops in the years to come, and instills in them a desire to do more with STEM concepts. We also encourage a future energy mindset in the hope that these students seek to become part of the solution to pressing global issues like climate change. In short, we hope the engineer-influenced projects, activities and professional development opportunities that students have through these programs prepares them to become part of a future STEM workforce. Although the Power Challenge is coming to an end with a Virtual Awards Ceremony this week, we hope to see participating students back in ComEd STEM programs in the months and years to come.

Many of ComEd’s Virtual STEM activities can be accessed here:

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