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ComEd Leaders Help Further Students’ STEM Skills at Immersive Workshop

ComEd Leaders Help Further Students’ STEM Skills at Immersive Workshop

This past weekend ComEd hosted fifty Chicagoland freshman students at the Art Institute of Chicago to further develop their STEM skills and enhance their understanding of the fundamentals of energy, smart-city technologies and sustainability. This session is a part of the ComEd HFS Chicago Scholars STEM Program that launched in December, offered exclusively to students in the HFS Scholars program, which helps socioeconomically-disadvantaged, and flourishing students attend top Chicago private high schools.

The STEM program includes five immersive workshops per academic year for four years where students gain project-based experience with the mentoring of professional engineers. The working session held on Saturday, March 2nd, was the third of the five workshops with the creative backdrop of the Art Institute of Chicago. Impressively, the students continue to show a consistent commitment to STEM education as well as a high level of engagement. ComEd mentor and Engineer for ComEd, Oke Chika also added to the students’ enthusiasm by leading interactive discussions regarding their future career opportunities and STEM applications in the real world.

When a violent windstorm struck the Chicago area in July 2011, it left a lot of destruction in its wake – and 904,000 ComEd customers without power. The energy company struggled to respond effectively.

“It was a wakeup call for both us and decisionmakers that something very significant had to change,” said Sheila Owens, vice president of economic and business development at ComEd.

The storm and its aftermath set in motion an effort to build support for upgrading the electric grid for northern Illinois and Chicago.

“The effort was not just to change the law or to change the relationship,” said Tom O’Neill, senior vice president and general counsel of ComEd parent company Exelon. “We had to change the mindset of how people saw the utility.”

Three months after the storm, Illinois passed the Smart Grid Law, which enabled the company to make needed investments to strengthen and modernize the grid. It included technology that would meaningfully improve service reliability and bring the grid into the 21st Century.

“Making the smart grid ‘smart’ through automation has really resulted in significant improvement in reliability and fewer customer outages,” said Michelle Blaise, senior vice president of technical services for ComEd.

Delivering on the smart grid promise took an extraordinary act of collaboration – not only across by the more than 6,000 employees across the company, but with public officials, and community leaders.

“We had some issues [in] one of our subdivisions, where they were losing power constantly,” said West Chicago Mayor Ruben Pineda. “Now…through the community, we’re about 99.9 percent without problems, and the few problems that we have, have been…very brief – a blip.”

The six-year smart grid program also gave the local economy a much-needed boost in the form of new jobs creation and investment.

“ComEd has helped United Scrap Metal transform our company from 20 employees to over 400 team members,” said Marsha Serlin, founder and CEO of United Scrap Metal.

See ComEd’s smart grid transformation by watching the video here: https://poweringlives.comed.com/transformation-making-the-electric-grid-smart/

Join us for a monthly talk on technology. This month, we are excited to have Michelle Peoples, Chicago Community Manager for Coding Dojo, as our first speaker. If you’re interested in learning more about coding, what Coding Dojo does, and how you can become enrolled, then you should join us on the 23rd!

This event is free. To RSVP, contact Vanessa 773-342-6210 x 222 or email vista@cclconnect.org

Instructor: James Papademas, Industry Professor and Graduate Advisor at the Illinois Institute of Technology

This tutorial provides an intermediate approach of the Python language. We’ll cover data centric approaches to build exciting and data driven apps quickly, efficiently and with effective formattable display options including graphical output! Topics include lists, dictionaries, iterators, lambdas, file IO (formats: csv, json), data visualizations, and web APIs. This event is hosted by Arity, sponsored by Allstate and organized by ABI.Chicago. This workshop is designed for people with two or more years of Python exp.

As the concept of self-driving vehicles continue to make headlines before making its way to the public for vast manufacturing many urban cities, Chicago included, are seeking answers about the development of the technology in self-driving cars and the future of the infrastructure for urban locations.

Many scientists and developers of the autonomous vehicle industry remain confident about the way the driving experience will be revolutionized. The nature of the driver experience will essentially take the responsibility out of the hands of the “traditional” driver and put this type of commitment into the trust of a machine. Although this seems like a great way to relax behind the wheel; many people are turning to experts in other industries to seek answers about questions that are beginning to arise.

Questions such as “Will self-driving cars be programmed to make moral decisions?”, “How will the morality of self-driving cars be legislated?”, and “How much control should be given to a machine?” are just a few making headlines. Researchers and concerned families can find answers by visiting, self-driving car resources, Forbes, and Science Magazine.

With such questions being raised, many drivers are wondering what to expect. Director of MIT Senseable City Lab predicts that newer technology may also forecast fewer vehicles on the road making transportation shorter in vast urban areas. With this taken into consideration, many are hopeful that the additional use of land could become use for more social and public spaces that were once used for vehicles such as parking lots and other auto related spaces.

Although this could be a hopeful future of the forecast of technology, there are others who argue that transportation could be less desirable for people within urban atmospheres, like Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.

Overall, there are many opinions and families that dwell within highly populated areas are going to become more concerned as the concept of autonomous vehicles make it closer to the mainstream market. For those interested in the technology and development of self-driving cars, it is important to conduct research and be aware of your safety and the safety of others as we experience technology revolutionize the auto industry once again.