Racing towards a career in STEM – Powering Lives Network

Melissa Gibson (second from left) and her Icebox Derby team, Green Galaxy.

Racing towards a career in STEM

August 2, 2019

A lifeguard, lacrosse star and STEM enthusiast, Melissa Gibson is one of 30 young women chosen to be a part of the ComEd Icebox Derby.

“My mom heard about the program, so I applied,” Gibson said. “I’m interested in science and math, so here I am.”

The Icebox Derby empowers and educates girls ages 13 to 18 to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Gibson and the other participants are working alongside ComEd mentors to transform old refrigerators into solar-enhanced racecars.

“I am hoping to learn a lot about STEM, particularly solar power,” she said. “I want to learn how these things work and showcase the car I helped create.”

In addition to learning new skills, Gibson hopes the program will help her discover career opportunities in STEM. As a junior in high school, she is planning for her future after graduation.   

“I visited a few colleges, and I’m interested in pursuing a major in behavioral neuroscience,” she said. “It sounds really interesting.”

Although Gibson won’t be hitting the road for college for a couple years, she is gearing up to put her racecar to the test.  The six teams will race at Daley Plaza on Aug. 3 in hopes of winning the ComEd Icebox Derby STEM Cup (and of course, bragging rights). The race will test not only the girls’ speed and craftsmanship, but also their analytical skills and ability to work together to achieve a common goal.

“I’m excited for race day,” Gibson said. “I can’t wait to race in a car that I made.”

For more information on the Icebox Derby and how you can be a part of the fun (and even win a brand-new fridge) go to

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