The 2nd Annual Icebox Derby Equips Girls with STEM Skills and Scholarships
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

ComEd kicked off its 2nd annual Icebox Derby on July 25 with a diverse group of 13-to-18-year-olds whose teams stand a chance to take home the STEM Cup, scholarship money, and other prizes. The Icebox Derby is a four-week long, hands-on competition designed to empower young women to explore opportunities in STEM. The participants work in teams to build race cars from old refrigerators, and the race takes place on August 15, 2015 at 2:00PM Central Time.

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While women receive more than half of all bachelor’s degrees awarded in the biological sciences, they receive far fewer in the computer sciences, engineering, physics,, mathematics and statistics, according to data from the National Girls Collaborative Project. Women currently hold 24% of the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs in America and ComEd, along with partners Girls4Science, Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, the Chicago Urban League, and Operation PUSH, wants to see that number increased.

“As technology continues to change our world, we are dedicated to helping these young, talented women see all the possibilities that lie before them, including future careers here at ComEd,” said Anne Pramaggiore, ComEd’s president and CEO.

By leveraging ComEd’s own Fridge & Freezer Recycling Rewards program aimed at driving energy efficiency, ComEd’s Icebox Derby supports the company’s commitment to creating sustainable and innovative solutions for the region.

On Saturday, August 15, the teams will put their cars to the test in a head-to-head race  on Field Museum Circle Drive in front of Chicago’s acclaimed Museum of Science Industry. Win or lose, each derby contestant will receive at least one $1,000 scholarship for completing the program. Prizes for the first place winners will be revealed at a later date.

By sharing one of the ComEd videos using #IceboxDerby and the video link, anyone can help grow the ComEd Spark Fund, created for the derby. Individuals can share only two videos per computer, per day, to add up to a maximum of $600 in additional scholarship money per participant. ComEd is pledging up to $70,000 to help send Chicagoland teens to college.

Members of last year’s winning team, Sonic Doom, are scheduled to attend a week-long camp at National Flight School in Pensacola, Florida, this July. Find out more about the program by visiting or searching hashtag #IceboxDerby.

ComEd’s Icebox Derby is intended to help increase interest and awareness in STEM amongst girls by providing a hands-on educational platform. Participants work closely with mentors – technical experts from ComEd and college students studying STEM fields – to learn about practical applications of STEM in the world and in the workforce. Important lessons about teamwork and safety are also closely tied to this initiative.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.