Empowering Communities

Chicago STEM in Action: From Inventor Lewis Latimer to Solar-Powered Lights

April 26, 2016

In the l890s, African-American inventor Lewis Latimer revolutionized the light bulb by creating a carbon filament that would extend the life of Thomas Edison’s bulb. More than 125 years later, during Black History Month, ComEd launched Solar Spotlight, a hands-on educational experience to inspire high school students to pursue careers in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Solar Spotlight brought together 30 Chicago and 10 Rockford high school students to learn about Latimer’s work – and to apply today’s energy technologies by creating solar-powered lights.

The below video tells the story of how ComEd, in partnership Project Syncere, PUSH Excel and George Westinghouse College Prep, hosted an innovative, two-day STEM immersion experience designed to expose students to careers focused on alternative and innovative energy solutions.

“It’s important to contribute (educational programs) to our neighborhoods because everybody needs an opportunity to be able to get somewhere in life,” said Dorien Baker, a student at Perspectives Rodney D. Joslin Campus.

Chicago-based participants attended a completion ceremony during which solar-powered lights were installed at Harper High School in the Englewood neighborhood and the Firehouse Community Arts Center in the Lawndale neighborhood.