Exelon Green Labs 2023 Awards

The following 2023 awards were announced on November 15, 2023. The Exelon Foundation and the Griffin Museum of Science and Industry extend their congratulations to all grant awardees!

After the Peanut Foundation – Lockport, IL: $49,636.00
After the Peanut Foundation’s STEAM CEO: Solar Power! project will provide students with STEAM project-based learning and career exposure to encourage the next generation of Black and Latino STEAM leaders to engage in community action. Students will identify an unused building in the Joliet community, create an architectural model of the site, and design a plan to renovate it with solar power and other green updates. Students will then present the upgraded building to the Mayor of Joliet and the Joliet City Council for consideration.

American Nuclear Society – Washington, DC: $24,837.00
The American Nuclear Society’s Nuclear Science Club pilot program will use a hybrid out-of-school-time model to engage low-income, first-generation BIPOC high school students in hands-on nuclear science activities. Designed to build confidence in approaching complex STEM topics, students will learn about nuclear science technology and its environmental applications through field visits to radiation facilities, visits from atomic professionals, and virtual project-based lessons and experiences.

Cab Calloway School Fund – Wilmington, DE: $7,700.00
The Cab Calloway School Fund’s outreach and enrichment program, SMArtSummer, will invite 12 low-income, middle, and high school students from Title 1 schools to attend its Summer 2024 SMArtSummer ECO (Environment, Climate and Ocean) Camp. Students will gain greater social and environmental awareness through classroom instruction, hands-on experiences in Technology and Marine Biology, and visits to oceanographic and atmospheric laboratories, exposing them to higher education possibilities and environmental sciences careers.

Cobra Back Foundation – Chicago, IL: $25,000.00
Cobra Back Foundation’s INNER-CITY RCP (INNER-CITY Radio-Controlled with Police) program is designed to strengthen the relationship between police officers, young learners and their local communities by engaging practical physics and mathematics applications in a radio-controlled truck STEM experience. Concepts involving calculations related to travel, speed, distance, time, gravity, and weight are incorporated as RC operators compete on a dynamic driving course. The program incorporates socio-emotional disciplines, team building, and violence intervention while teaching STEM concepts in a fun and engaging way.

Coppin State University – Baltimore, MD: $39,755.00
Coppin State University's Community Tech Program is designed to teach Coppin Academy High School students about the environmental impact of electronic waste on the local ecosystem. Through its various components, students engage the process of an eCycling lifecycle, including repurposing and repair, marketing, eWaste collection, supply, inventory, and financial management. The program imparts professional experience focusing on green career paths, highlighting the value and sustainability of repair, sales, and management opportunities in the recycling ecosystem.

Covenant Faith Church – Chicago, IL: $5,000.00
Covenant Faith Church’s Shoot for the Starts (SFS) after-school program engages students in K-12th grades in STREAM (science, technology, reading, engineering, arts, and mathematics) disciplines with hands-on projects and after-school programs that focus on climate, environmental stewardship, and science career pathways. Students will build a greenhouse, maintain community gardens, and learn conservation best practices and ways to engage in environmental advocacy and action in their communities.

DC International School – Washington, DC: $2,000.00
DC International School’s Greenovations program will engage inner-city students of the DC area in innovative and creative environmental, student-driven initiatives that teach the impact of carbon footprints and sustainable food sources while addressing regional food desert issues in their surrounding communities. By producing and maintaining a sustainable urban garden that serves the neighborhood and school community, students are exposed to STEAM initiatives incorporating mathematical probabilities, agricultural conditions, design, and esthetics.

Envision Community Services – Chicago, IL: $50,000.00
The Envision Community Services’ ENERGY program will provide middle and high school students access to a new mobile computer lab that will serve as a learning and research hub while supplementing their current STEM after-school curriculum. Using the computer lab, students can better organize community clean-up routes, connect with community partners, and create digital content. Students will plan and develop the extension of a community garden with partner SunBend Solar to create and install a local solar-powered community refrigerator while learning the science behind solar-powered energy.

Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. – Frederick, MD: $25,000.00
Designed to prepare students for STEM careers, the Future STEM CEOs (FSC) program at Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI) will support selected students from local, majority Title 1 schools who will identify and create future-proofing solutions to environmental and other STEM-related challenges. Working directly with FITCI clients to understand the clients’ projects, students will be tasked with creating spin-off or companion products/services and collaborating on ventures including agrotech, alternative energy, waste reuse, and water preservation to enhance immersion in STEM career fields.

Homewood Science Center – Homewood, IL: $28,708.00
Expanding on its current educational offerings, the Homewood Science Center will create a Green Lab Field Trip for low-income middle school students of color. In this program, students will explore the connections between living things by visiting nearby wild spaces, conducting waterway testing, and identifying species to learn about conservation ecology. Additional engagement in engineering design processes and brainstorming on using technology to solve environmental issues enhances student collaboration and problem-solving.

Imagine Englewood If – Chicago, IL: $6,500.00
The Greater Englewood Innovators Club, operating out of the Imagine Englewood If Peace Campus will activate its Peace Garden and Imagination House as lab spaces focusing on food science and environmental science. Utilizing a restored and expanded greenhouse and outdoor and indoor space, 12–18-year-olds will gain environmentally-focused STEM skills through hands-on activities. Participants will also learn eco-friendly habits that foster an understanding of how even small conservation actions can have significant impacts.

Josephinum Academy of the Sacred Heart – Chicago, IL: $40,000.00
The Exelon Foundation Green Lab at Josephinum Academy seeks to empower young girls to use their creativity, unique perspective, and voice in STEM, by engaging them in topics including climate change, energy, and greenhouse gas effects in a designated classroom lab setting. Through varied programming, including virtual visits to geographical locations, hands-on plant cultivation, coding projects, and 3-D mathematical conceptualization, students will develop the fluency to use scientific processes that engage their consciousness in decisions that affect the climate.

Latino Youth High School – Chicago, IL: $49,980.00
In a partnership with Northwestern University’s FUSE Studio, Latino Youth High School’s LYHS STEM Levels Up! will offer low-income, alternative high school students ages 16–22 hands-on, after-school STEM-focused programming in media creation, indoor hydroponic gardening, and robotics. The project will build on and expand the reach of its current maker space where students can experiment with 3D printing, coding, engineering, and other STEM subject matter and engage them in activities in a currently operational community garden and composting program.

Midland Park Jr./Sr. High School & Girls Who Code – Midland Park, NJ: $1,000.00
With an emphasis on the female student population to incorporate more girls in STEM opportunities, The Robotics for STEM program at Midland Park Jr./Sr. High School will expand its current STEM lab offerings to include drones and robotics. Students are encouraged to use new equipment and technologies in ways that can ultimately reduce environmental footprints. By engaging in engineering concepts and hands-on activities with practical applications, students will utilize problem-solving and other socially relevant skills they can later implement for future careers in STEM while encouraging environmental change in their own communities.

NAACP ACT-SO Program – Willingboro, NJ: $10,522.72
NAACP’s ACT-SO STEM is a student-enrichment program that seeks to increase student participation in STEM topics for high school students in local and national competitions that are currently underutilized. Held in a science lab classroom setting with additional offsite field trips, the program will first hold a Master Class to garner student interest in an area of focus, incorporating STEM 101 concepts relating to their choice. Then, in collaboration with volunteers in various STEM-focused areas (including Medicine and Health, Computer Science and Coding, Earth and Space Sciences, Sustainable Building Design, and more), students will participate in hands-on classes supporting their chosen field.

Newark Water Coalition – Newark, NJ: $40,000.00
The Newark Water Coalition’s Waterbenders Community Lab Scholars program is designed for low-income and high-school students of color, where students engage in a Mobile Lead Testing unit research initiative. Offering hands-on training, personalized mentorship, scholarship assistance, and guided research experiences, students will learn about the interactions between water, paint, soil, and dust through actual samples collected from Newark residences. Hands-on science learning in a classroom laboratory setting provides a space for research on issues directly affecting their communities, while engaging students in the real-world applications of STEM concepts and procedures to find solutions to current environmental challenges.

Next One Up – Baltimore, MD: $50,000.00
Next One UP will launch its STEM Lab at Base Camp, a robotics and STEM lab providing year-round learning opportunities for low-income, Black male middle and high school students. Students will work in teams, with a hands-on format focusing on clean energy and its potential for the future. Professional speakers, workplace tours, and mentoring sessions will help students understand how robotics and STEM concepts relate to careers in conservation and energy.

Northeastern Illinois University Foundation – Chicago, IL: $36,000.00
NEIU’s STEAM Innovation Lab: Accessible STEAM Learning and Exploration program will engage Latinx community middle and high school students in after-school research related to environmental sustainability and agriculture technology. Led by the NEIU STEAM Pathways project located within NEIU’s El Centro satellite campus, students will use real-world tools such as sensors and microcontrollers to learn about the intersection of food, water, and computer science.

Northern Illinois University Foundation – DeKalb, IL: $39,930.00
NIU will enhance its after-school and summer programs for underrepresented first-generation elementary, middle, and high school students through its Green STEAM Team Labs, programs focusing on STEM education subjects that explore authentic problems and inspire solutions. After-school programming includes NIU student mentorship and content-chosen STEAM modules. The summer program models the college experience and includes sleeping in the residence halls, taking meals in the dining hall, and working with faculty and NIU staff in one of three problem-based content areas: biodiversity, weather and climate sustainability, or food systems and reducing food scarcity.

Phase 3 Training Corporation – Columbia, MD: $40,000.00
Phase 3’s Young Builder’s STEM Labs will provide STEM career training to low-to-moderate-income high school students who experience significant socio-economic barriers to training and education. Students will engage in real-life, hands-on activities in energy-related careers by practicing advanced wiring techniques, performing HVAC mechanics on working machines, and troubleshooting the working components of elevators. The labs are designed to increase confidence and expertise to later place students in registered apprenticeships in related career fields.

Requity Foundation, Inc. – Baltimore, MD: $39,000.00
Baltimore Green Lab Project is a partnership between The Requity Foundation, Inc. and Baltimore City Schools, providing economically disadvantaged high school students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in green construction. Students will blend school instruction with real-world applications, working alongside faculty and trained building contractors to reconstitute a high-performance Green Lab. Designed to be portable, the lab will incorporate Passive House methods, natural low-carbon building materials, highly energy-efficient mechanical systems, environmentally sensitive permaculture methods, and renewable energy systems. Construction instructors and students will cultivate green building skills for future careers in green construction.

Rich Township High School District 227 – Matteson, IL: $40,000.00
The Rich Township High School District 227 will launch its STEM Urban Agriculture Research Project, where middle and high school students living in under-resourced areas can engage in out-of-school-time programming to learn environmental sustainability and explore urban agriculture careers. Students will use both indoor and outdoor STEM spaces to gain knowledge of and implement the use of aeroponic and hydroponic towers, grow nutrient-dense food using sustainable methods, collect data on their crops, and learn about career possibilities in technology and agriculture. Each participant will gain the skills necessary to become modern farmers and scientists who address food and land shortages.

St. Patrick High School Beekeeping Club – Chicago, IL: $15,000.00
Bees on Belmont, the after-school Beekeeping Club at St. Patrick High School, will help students apply STEM principles to modern beekeeping practices. Along with caring for the bees and their hives, students will conduct hive health checks, perform honey harvesting and wax rendering, and create and maintain a pollinator garden. Students will also learn hands-on business modeling, including budgeting, creating products for sale to consumers, and creating and implementing a sales plan.

STEAM on Wheels at Martin Luther King Center – Rock Island, IL: $38,598.00
The STEAM on Wheels program teaches after-school STEM enrichment programs at the Martin Luther King Center, serving primarily at-risk and low-income and Black or African American middle and high school students. In the lab, students will learn the basics of hydroponics systems, build solar-powered vehicles, create mini-ecosystems, learn about waste reduction, track weather patterns, design geothermal greenhouses, and more. Each project incorporates lessons on why the project is essential and fosters scientific inquiry through asking questions, conducting research, and constructing and testing hypotheses through experimentation.

The Black Star Project – Chicago, IL: $40,000.00
Black Star Project’s Project Greenhouse is an initiative focused on environmental sustainability education, expanding the current Kimberly Lightford Saturday University program to include custom education and activities specific to the community. Serving Hefferan Elementary School Pre-K to 8th-grade students, participants will learn about water, energy, and material conservation – including Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle methods – and experience hiking, nature walks, and gardening to help them connect with nature through wonder and appreciation.

The JYK Discovery Charter School – Philadelphia, PA: $50,000.00
STEAM AHEAD is an after-school program for K-8th grade students of the JYK Discovery Charter School designed to spark and maintain students’ interest in STEAM through augmented, virtual, extended, and mixed reality activities. Students engage in hands-on experiments and attend workshops on climate science, renewable energy, and sustainability. Demonstrations, discussions, site visits, and field trips encourage critical thinking and problem-solving, while exposure to STEM career pathways provides opportunities for further exploration.

YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago – Chicago, IL: $24,127.04
By extending its current STEAM Club program for elementary students, the Teen STEAM Lab program will include middle and high school students from low-invested communities, offering free, onsite community-based programming in STEAM topics, including coding, robotics, digital design and fabrication, electronics, and inventions. Facilitated in an after-school setting, participants will use coding, electronics, 3D printing, vinyl cutting, and robotics to complete collaborative engineering projects designed to inspire interest in STEAM, sustainable design, and computer science.

Youth & Opportunity United – Evanston, IL: $32,608.07
Base Camp, housed in Youth & Opportunity United’s headquarters in Evanston, will provide low-income high school students of color an after-school opportunity to engage in hands-on, project-based STEM learning experiences, including a unit centered on STEM and the environment. Programming exposes youth to occupations in STEM through experiential learning opportunities in professional fields such as graphic design, circuitry, coding, robotics, music, carpentry, engineering, and manufacturing. Students develop key Maker mindsets and build collaboration, community, and curiosity skills.

For more information

For more information, email GreenLab@msichicago.org.