ComEd STEM Home Labs Provides Virtual STEM Programming For 100 Students During COVID-19 Pandemic

STEM influencer Dr. Kate Biberdorf and ComEd engineers lead instruction in new five-month educational series
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CHICAGO, Oct. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- To safely bring STEM education to students during the COVID-19 pandemic, ComEd is launching ComEd STEM Home Labs, its first-ever virtual program to provide Chicagoland students with STEM engagement at home. ComEd engineers developed the program in collaboration with university professor and STEM influencer Dr. Kate Biberdorf. The series kicks off on Saturday, Oct. 24, for 100 students, ages 13-17, from across Chicago-area communities.

Continuing ComEd's longstanding investment in STEM engagement for Chicago-area youth, this new program inspires students to advance their confidence, knowledge and career paths in STEM through hands-on experiments in a year where many extracurricular programs are on hold. By exciting young women and students of color about careers in science, technology, engineering and math, ComEd STEM Home Labs will encourage them to pursue jobs in STEM.

"Women, African Americans and Latinos remain underrepresented in STEM fields," said ComEd CEO Joe Dominguez. "To help address this challenge at a time when many students are learning remotely, we've created ComEd STEM Home Labs to ensure our STEM programs can continue this year. We're proud to provide a much-needed hands-on experience with our engineers for local students looking to expand their interest in STEM." 

ComEd STEM Home Labs is a five-month series, with each month featuring a new project focused on the principles and application of solar energy, electricity and circuitry. Students will tune into their virtual "lab" one Saturday a month, October through February, and complete their projects in real-time alongside their peers, guided by ComEd mentors and Dr. Kate. Prior to each session, students will receive their STEM Home Lab kits in a custom package, complete with materials and instructions tailored to each project to ensure all students can follow along at the same pace.

For the first project, students will build a solar-powered plant growing station that they can use to cultivate plants indoors during the winter. Each project will build successively upon the previous session's knowledge base and skills, culminating in the creation of a Rube Goldberg machine incorporating all that the students have learned.

For more than seven years, ComEd has provided year-round programming to engage the next generation of local STEM talent and increase diversity in those fields, including the ComEd Solar Spotlight events during Black History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month, and the ComEd Icebox Derby for Chicagoland girls each summer. ComEd STEM Home Labs serves as a new avenue for communities underrepresented in STEM fields to power the future. 

About ComEd Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (EXC) - Get Report, the nation's leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 10 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state's population. For more information visit  ComEd.com, and connect with the company on  FacebookTwitterInstagram and  YouTube.

About Dr. Kate Biberdorf

Dr. Kate Biberdorf  is a scientist, a science entertainer, and a professor at the University of Texas. Through her theatrical and hands-on approach to teaching, Dr. Biberdorf is breaking down the image of the stereotypical scientist, while reaching students who might otherwise be intimidated by science. Students' emotional responses, rather than rote memorization of facts, are key to Biberdorf's dynamic approach to her program, as well as science in general. Her exciting and engaging program leaves audiences with a positive, memorable impression of science—all while diminishing the stigma around women in science. She has appeared on  The Today Show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, NBC Nightly News,  Wendy Williams Show  and  Late Night with Stephen Colbert. She is also author of KATE THE CHEMIST: THE BIG BOOK OF EXPERIMENTS , a children's fiction series and the soon to be released Dr. Kate Biberdorf's IT'S ELEMENTAL: THE HIDDEN CHEMISTRY IN EVERYTHING, about the ways we experience chemistry everyday life.

Contact: ComEd Media Relations312-394-3500

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SOURCE ComEd