Students Discover McAuley

Emma Mendez '19

Last summer, Emma Mendez ‘19 took part in a one-week STEM Leadership and innovation Academy, sponsored by Exelon, at the Illinois Institute of Technology. She was one of only 44 young women from across Illinois invited into the program. Emma shared some of her story with visitors to our September and October open house.

“Throughout the week, I talked to many women in STEM, including CEO of Exelon Utilities, Anne R. Pramaggiore. The academy offered five different panels, with different women in the STEM field. We also attended a dinner with V.I.P.s from Exelon to allow us to build our own networks.

My favorite activity of the week was going to the Museum of Science and Industry. We went to the Pixar exhibit and another one which explained why we should conserve energy and how we can do this. We also attended the ComEd training facility and the Dresden Nuclear Power Plant. Along with visiting many cool places, we were given many labs and projects.

Our biggest project was our Innovation Challenge, in which 10 teams of four girls worked together to redesign Jackson Park. In order to accomplish this challenge, each team had to create a concept book of the ideas for the renovation and a digital and physical model of the renovated park.

We had about two days to work on this challenge and were given iPads to work on the projects. At the end of the second day, the projects were judged by four judges. The winners received a large prize, which was given to the team members on the last day of camp. I was rewarded for creating a video that represents what it means to be a woman in STEM.

This academy was an amazing opportunity, and I hope more McAuley girls will be a part of it next year!

Beyond her love for science, Emma plays soccer and has a passion for singing and performing. She is a member of the Mac Melody show choir was a soloist in the musical, White Christmas. She also is a member of several academic clubs and honors organizations.