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Two Saint Patrick Students Win Top Prize in ComEd/HFS Scholars STEM Competition for ‘Smart Pathways’ Prototype

Saint Patrick High School students Austin Ayite ’22 and Chris Iwuoha ’22 won top prize this weekend for their student presentation at an awards ceremony that concluded the inaugural year of the ComEd HFS Scholars STEM Program and Energy Academy. Ayite and Iwuoha are among 50 freshmen from across a variety of high performing schools around the city participating in the four-year educational program. Their team was awarded the top prize of $2,000 for their innovative technology concept, Smart Pathways. Smart Pathways was designed to light pathways in a more energy efficient way through motion sensors and light dimming capabilities. The Smart Pathways prototype also included safety features such as movement tracking through its light sensors.

The program connects HFS Scholars to STEM subjects, specifically related to the energy industry. Since its kickoff in December, students have been taking part in an immersive experience, learning the fundamentals of energy, smart city technologies and sustainability, in addition to developing smart grid prototypes with professional engineer mentors. Winning criteria for the student prototypes in the competition included the potential to deliver community benefits related to health, safety, sustainability, connectedness, mobility, efficiency and education.

Both Ayite and Iwuoha are excited about their winning prototype and grateful to be selected as part of the program. “I am thankful for the opportunity to learn more about engineering and for the chance to meet ComEd’s CEO and CFO,” Ayite said. Iwuoha added that he was happy to be a part of something that shows youth can make an impact at a young age. The two Shamrocks, who are entering their sophomore year at St. Pat’s this fall, look forward to continuing with the program over the next three years.

“While the partnership we’ve built with HFS Chicago Scholars offers its students the unique opportunity to learn about the exciting future of energy, it also grants us the opportunity to learn from these bright students,” said Shay Bahramira, Vice President of Engineering and Smart Grid at Comed. “We look forward to building upon this partnership and to see these freshmen students grow over the course of their high school career, as they all achieved excellence over the past five months.”

“ComEd has been a fantastic partner for over 10 years,” said Mike Kennelly, Founder & Chairman of HFS Chicago Scholars. “They launched this program this year, and it’s been great for our freshmen scholars, learning scientific concepts from ComEd’s scientists and engineers, and how to apply them.  But more than anything, seeing them have a lot of fun along the way.”

Edgar Mijarez ’22 was also on a team that placed in third for developing a Smart Carbon Dioxide Detector designed to improve air quality and emergency response times in regard to carbon dioxide emissions. The prototype included integrating sensors into existing technology to sense the amount of carbon dioxide in the air as well as assist in emergency response by rerouting GPS systems and working with traffic signals to route traffic away from dangerous areas.

Winning team pictured with their mentor (left to right): Austin Ayite ’22, Kamron Brown, Bryce Choice, Chris Iwuoha ’22.

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