Chicago-Area Young Women Gear Up For Annual Icebox Derby

ComEd Icebox Derby
Photo credit Photo courtesy of ComEd

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- For the last three weeks, five teams of young women, ages 13-18, have been preparing for race day.

"This Saturday is our annual ComEd Icebox Derby. This is now our sixth year running this program," said Melissa Washington, Vice President, Government, External Affairs, ComEd.

"Saturday we'll have a race of really, go carts that the young ladies designed and built from recycled refrigerators."

Washington said the race is designed to encourage young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

"This idea was first generated to try to educate and expose young ladies to STEM technology," she said. "We found that girls were shying away from anything based upon science and technology. We were seeing that young ladies were getting degrees, but they are under represented in biological sciences, far fewer of them are focusing on computer sciences, engineering, physics or math."

According to the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, women make up 49 percent of the workforce, yet only 26 percent of jobs in STEM-related fields in Illinois.

"They work with our women engineers in the company and they design the vehicles, they name the team and they race on derby day," she said.

The Icebox Derby race will be held Saturday at Daley Plaza.

Each participant will receive a $1,500 scholarship.