Empowering Communities

Orange Flare Burns Up Racetrack to Win the 2017 Icebox Derby

August 15, 2017

Orange Flare made its mark to win the STEM Cup at the 2017 ComEd Icebox Derby, which took place on Aug. 12 at Daley Plaza.

“I was so surprised we won because it was a really close race,” says Lugano, 15, a member of the winning team.

Teal Turbo took second place.

Orange Flare and Teal Turbo were two of the six teams that raced solar-powered electric cars and completed STEM challenges to win the STEM Cup, scholarships, and other prizes. The other teams were Blue Quest, Green Galaxy, Violet Vortex and Yellow Spark. Each of the girls received scholarship money for participating in the program.

“The hardest thing about today’s race was making sure to be efficient and complete all of the challenges throughout the race,” says Deepika, 17, who wants to be an engineer.

Each team member took turns racing around the track completing specific STEM challenges along the way such as answering STEM-related questions or performing STEM-related skill tests.

The ComEd Icebox Derby is a three-week program during which the participants transform old refrigerators from ComEd’s Fridge and Freezer Recycling program into solar-powered racecars. The six teams of girls, all between the ages of 13 to 18, worked with ComEd mentors to assemble and decorate their racing machines.

“The car was a lot lighter than I thought it would be, which was good for racing,” Lugano says. “It was really great to work with my teammates in this competition.”

Blue Quest with their Icebox Derby car.

Blue Quest shows off its Icebox Derby car.

During the competition, the girls learned science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), as well as patience, a willingness to collaborate and the drive to try something new.

Aditi, 14, was excited to learn to drive the fridge car.

“We practiced before the race, but I was very nervous during the race,” she says. “Safety was very important in this competition, so we all had to make sure we followed the safety rules.”

Seconds could be deducted from the team’s race time for safety violations including bumping into another vehicle or not wearing a helmet or seatbelt properly.

Launched in 2014, ComEd’s Icebox Derby is designed to educate and inspire young women to explore opportunities in STEM. Data from the National Girls Collaborative project shows that while women earn more than half of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the biological sciences, they earn far fewer in the computer sciences, engineering, physics, and mathematics and statistics.

For more information about the Icebox Derby, visit iceboxderby.com.