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Exelon takes STEM Academy for female students virtual this time around

Exelon is not letting COVID-19 stop its push for helping young women develop careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The Chicago-based utility holding company’s non-profit Exelon Foundation is bringing back its annual STEM Innovation Leadership Academy, but making it a virtual event as so many others in this pandemic era. The event, started last year, will connect 180 female students with access to STEM leaders, educational tools and learning opportunities, Exelon Corp. CEO Chris Crane said.

“It is imperative that we engage, educate and inspire the next generation of STEM leaders and provide them the tools and encouragement they need to prepare for future professional careers,” Crane said. “Despite the pandemic, we have found innovative ways to provide these young women with an enriching STEM experience this summer.”

Technology sectors will offer the fastest growing job potential in the future, according to multiple business forecasts. Sensoring, blockchain, the internet of things and artificial intelligence are among the STEM fields which will push the utility power industry forward.

Each year the Exelon Foundation holds the STEM Academy events in cities where Exelon has operating companies. Hosted in conjunction with the United Nations Women HeForShe initiative, the 2020 iteration of the Academy will be held for students in Chicago (underway this week), Philadelphia (July 27-31), and Washington D.C./Baltimore (August 3-7).

See more of our coverage on COVID-19 and its impact in the power sector.

As part of the three week-long Academy events, 60 high school girls in each market will participate in online educational seminars and discussions, hands-on workshops using tools and other items sent to them beforehand as part of a STEM Supply Kit, and even virtual field trips to noteworthy STEM-related landmarks in their hometowns. This year’s Academy event will place a special focus on addressing the growing impacts of climate change and the disproportionate ways it is affecting the most under-resourced populations.

Students will be challenged to design their own energy-efficient product prototypes, with a panel of judges selecting a winning project at the conclusion of each Academy. The 2020 Academy, funded by the Exelon Foundation, is part of Exelon’s $3 million investment to encourage and support the involvement of young women in STEM.

Exelon Corp. is composed of numerous power utility businesses, including Commonwealth Edison, Baltimore Gas & Electric, Pepco, Constellation, Delmarva Power and Exelon Generation. ComEd also leads in STEM activities for Chicago-area female student with events such as its Icebox Derby (pictured), where the participants turn old fridges into solar-powered racecars.

The utilities serve more than 10 million customers in the upper Midwest and Atlantic U.S. regions.