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For the fourth year, ComEd’s annual Black History Month campaign provides stimulating seminars to expose African American high school students to non-traditional and ‘unexpected’ STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers. For 2017, Solar Spotlight will explore STEM via The Arts as students learn about solar energy, African-American trailblazers, and the earliest forms of STEM via African history. The program will culminate with a 7-foot solar-powered art Installation, designed with help from the students, which will be on permanent display in the Bronzeville neighborhood.
ComEd enlisted the support of community partners, youth organizations and schools in Chicago and Rockford to select nearly 60 students to participate in the Solar Spotlight seminars on Saturday, February 4 and Saturday, February 11, at the ComEd Training Center in Chicago. ComEd engineers will be on hand to serve as mentors and students also will have an opportunity to tour the facility and learn about careers in energy.
Gallery Guichard, Bronzeville’s premier gallery of art, has signed on as a partner to construct the installation. ComEd will unveil the solar art at a special ceremony for the students, their family, friends and the community in early Spring 2017.
“ComEd is proud to celebrate Black History Month by engaging with local high school students’ to explore STEM through the emerging worlds of science and art,” said Anne Pramaggiore, President and CEO of ComEd. “As an innovation and technology company, we are committed to offering youth-based STEM programs throughout the year to empower the workforce of the future. All of these programs include aspects to nurture diversity and promote community involvement.”
The ‘Solar Spotlight’ campaign also will highlight activities and student participation in series of billboard, print, and digital advertisements throughout the month of February. ComEd will award each participating student with a plaque highlighting the completion of the education seminars and a financial scholarship.
The seminar curriculum introduces renewable energy concepts, features the multiple uses of solar energy while also providing students with the opportunity to work with directly with experts in solar and STEM fields, including ComEd mentors. There will be a presentation about the earliest dated pyramid, the 200 feet high step pyramid designed by the royal architect Imhotep, to illustrate engineering and astronomical significance and prep students for an hands-on activity to design hieroglyphic panels for the pyramid art Installation.
Members of Exelon African American Resource Alliance (EAARA), who are also ComEd employees, will serve as student mentors for both education seminars. A member of EAARA will present a Black History themed profile about the women featured in the #1 movie “Hidden Figures” to highlight African Americans who have excelled in the STEM industry.
ComEd invites the general public to visit ComEd.com/SolarSpotlight to learn more about Solar Spotlight and watch the 2016 student video. The public may also track the students’ Solar Spotlight journey on social media by searching #comedsolarspotlight and #bhm2017.