Empowering Communities

Developing future Latino STEM leaders

October 15, 2019

Watching her dad work on cars as a child sparked Blanca Martinez’s interest in engineering.

“My dad didn’t go to college, but he has always worked on cars,” Martinez said. “Seeing him find solutions and fix problems inspired me to become an engineer.”

After receiving an email from her high school engineering teacher about ComEd’s Solar Spotlight program, Martinez saw an opportunity to explore a future in engineering.

To help address the underrepresentation of Latinos in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, the program takes Hispanic teens through a solar energy-focused curriculum and hands-on activities. Working side-by-side with Latino engineers and professionals from ComEd, the students begin to envision their own rewarding careers in STEM.

“I’ve learned how to work better with others,” Martinez said. “I also like to be challenged and find solutions to problems, so this program is perfect for me.”

Martinez and other high school students worked with their ComEd mentors to build solar-powered grow boxes that can grow more than a pound of food each week.

“I think it’s cool that ComEd does this to inspire Latinos to pursue a career in STEM,” Martinez said. “I also heard about the ComEd Icebox Derby, which is something I am interested in.”

Started in 2016, more than 200 students have participated in ComEd’s Solar Spotlight during Hispanic Heritage Month.  To learn more about the students’ experience, watch the video below: