The ComEd EV Rally was so much fun! Earlier this summer, I applied for the opportunity to learn how to build an electric vehicle and race it with a team. ComEd chose thirty girls to put onto six teams with five team members on each team. The teams were Blue Quest, Violet Vortex, Orange Flare, Yellow Spark, Green Galaxy, and my team – Teal Turbo. We learned a lot during the program, and on race day, Marvel’s Xochitl Gomez was there to cheer us on!
At the beginning of the program, we met at the Museum of Science and Industry to meet our teammates and get the t-shirts that we would wear while we worked on our cars with our teams. We spent build nights working on the cars, learning about circuits, working with mentors and alumni from the icebox derby program, and getting to know each other.
Each team had a rising freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, and college freshman, and we all had different strengths. Since love to code, and I learned about circuits in Computer Science this year, so that was my thing. I learned a lot of new things too, and our mentors gave us resources to learn even more at home. By the time race day came, all of the teams were ready.
We had built and decorated our cars, taken them for a test drive, and decided on our racing order. Parents and siblings came to our last build night and made signs together. When we got to the Museum of Science and Industry, where the race would be held, we had a practice run, and then got all geared up with our bandanas, face paint, and noise makers so that we could cheer each other on. ComEd gave away 500 tickets to the museum for friends, family, and the community so that everyone could come and not only see the race, get free stuff, drinks, and cheer for their favorite teams, but also check out the museum.
The race was like a relay race. Instead of using a baton or something to switch drivers, we had to complete STEM challenges. I’ve done a lot of different things, but guess what… I don’t drive and I don’t even have my permit! I can say that the first real car that I drove on my own was one that I built with the help of ComEd, mentors, and the members of Teal Turbo. Working together was so much fun. Completing the challenges was tough, and all 30 girls were super smart and motivated to win. There were two heats, and the winner of each heat would compete in the final. We won the first heat, and went on to compete in the final against Orange Flare.
We ended up having to do a tie breaker challenge, and won! Team Teal Turbo is the inaugural ComEd EV Rally 2022 winner. All of the participants received scholarships, but we gained even more than that. I have so many new STEM sisters, mentors, and friends.
It can feel really isolating to be a girl interested in tech.
In my dream career, I would likely never share an office space with someone who looks like me. Only twenty six percent of jobs in technology in Illinois are held by women. Less than 3% are held by black women. Diversity in technology careers all starts with our youth. Research shows that girls who have female role-models in STEM are more likely to choose a career in it than girls who do not. The largest factor in their choice was whether they could see themselves succeeding or not.
Programs like these are so important for girls like us. We can see what we can be, and know that the sky is the limit. At race day, Xochitl Gomez who plays America Chavez in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, spoke to ABC 7’s Victoria Williams and said, “There’s gonna be lots of bumps in the road, but just keep going and having that motivation and goal. Actions speak louder than words, and obviously these girls are doing it, and I’m very proud of them.” We were all so happy to have her there to cheer for us and encourage us to do our best.
ABC 7’s Victoria Williams interviewed us too. Check it out here.
I’ll do a video recap soon! I have so many videos and pictures that I would love to share. Until then, make sure you are following me on Instagram and Facebook. I am sharing photos and clips there too. Subscribe to my YouTube channel to make sure you don’t miss my recap video. If you are interested in STEM, ComEd has a lot of youth programs including STEM Never Stops, Virtual Smart Energy Hub, Electric Universe, EV Energy Education, Energy Action Team, Youth Ambassador, Stem Homelabs, and more. To learn more about these programs, click here.
Update! I started my Labor Day weekend with Team Teal Turbo talking with Ray Cortopassi about all things STEM at WGN-TV. He drove the car like a champ and is now an honorary member of Team Teal Turbo!
About ComEd: Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) provides electric service to more than 4 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. ComEd is a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy supplier.
About the EV Rally: Young women across Chicagoland applied and were selected to participate in this exciting opportunity to learn about EVs and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) principles and connect with female STEM mentors. The ComEd EV Rally is designed to promote STEM education for girls and to foster curiosity among the next generation of STEM leaders. Learn more about how we prepared for race day with our mentors here.