Two Kane County students tackle climate change in Exelon Foundation STEM Leadership Academy
Two Kane County high school seniors tackled climate change while participating in the fourth annual Exelon Foundation STEM Leadership Academy for 60 female students from throughout the Chicago area.
Batavia High School senior Rachel Adams and Geneva High School senior Julianna Longo participated in the STEM Academy July 11-16.
During the weeklong academy, students participated in hands-on workshops after receiving STEM kits delivered to their homes, in addition to virtual educational seminars and discussions.
Kane County Board Chair Corinne Pierog congratulated the students for their participation.
"I applaud Miss Adams and Miss Longo for their pursuit of excellence and dedication during summer break to learn about important issues such as climate change," Pierog said. "These issues will continue to become more important with future generations and we will need the creative minds of future STEM leaders to address them."
Exelon President and CEO Chris Crane said the academy provides female students access to STEM role models and leaders, in addition to unique learning opportunities outside of the traditional classroom.
"It is critical that we engage, educate and inspire the next generation of STEM leaders and provide them the tools and resources they need to prepare for future professional careers," Crane said.
This year's academy focused on climate change and the disproportionate ways it is affecting the most under-resourced communities. The week culminated in a final project and student presentations of their own energy-efficient product prototypes.
Adams said she really enjoyed the hands-on learning opportunities during the program.
"We put together electric circuits to make a light bulb light up behind an image and also learned how to use other tools such as an infrared thermometer and a hydrometer," Adams said.
Longo said she especially enjoyed the opportunity to hone her business skills.
"I not only received the opportunity to enhance my knowledge of science and mathematics with circuit projects and climate change labs, but also had the chance to grow my professional business skill through networking with executives and developing elevator pitches," Longo said. "I plan to utilize these connections and expanded skills to succeed as a female leader in the STEM field and transform the societal normal of the STEM community."