Bellwood Teen’s Inventive Street Lights Win $2K Prize

Wednesday, July 10, 2019 || By Igor Studenkov || @maywoodnews

Featured image: Kamron Brown, right, works on an idea during the Create a Spark HFS Scholars STEM Program and Energy Academy. | Photo submitted

A Bellwood high school student recently won first-place in a science competition for an idea that could lead to brighter, safer streets. 

Kamron Brown, a St Joseph High School freshman, was part of a team of four students whose project won first place at the conclusion of the first-ever Create a Spark HFS Scholars STEM Program and Energy Academy

The program is a joint effort between energy utility ComEd and the Holy Family School’s Scholars Chicago program. The idea was to help 50 freshmen attending Catholic schools in Chicago and the suburbs improve their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills. 

As part of the program, the students were split into teams and each team had to come up with projects that would not only save energy, but improve health and safety in the community. Brown’s group came up with Smart Pathways, a street lights system where lights change brightness depending on how many people are walking by. The first place prize was $2,000. 

The HSF Scholars program was originally launched to help students from Holy Family Elementary parochial school afford the tuition to attend parochial and private high schools. The school eventually closed, but the scholarship program has broadened its focus to help all Chicago area low-income, high-achieving students gain entry into private schools.  Students must have a grade-point average of at least 3.4 and their family’s income can’t be more than $55,000.

Brown with his first-place-winning team and the team’s mentor. | Photo submitted

ComEd developed the Create a Spark program to benefit the scholarship recipients. The idea was to get students comfortable with STEM and increase the number of minority students going into STEM fields.

Each group’s project had to focus on the power grid. For their project, Brown explained that he and fellow group members Austin Ayite, Bryce Choice and Chris Iwuoha pondered why street lights are always lit brightly at night when they don’t need to be. 

“We approached it with the idea of dimming the light, so we could save energy,” Brown said, adding that they installed a motion-tracking device on their prototype so that it brightens when people are in proximity. 

Brown said he handled the engineering aspect of the project. He said that the team received the help of a mentor, who guided them through the process. 

Back in March, Brown said that his dream is to major in business and become a CEO. The experience with this project, he said, helped him understand the realities of being a leader. 

“When I get older, when I have my own business, I can use what I learned in ComEd,” Brown said, adding that the project made him believe in his ability to make an impact. 

“It was like, we came up with an idea, too,” he said. “So, we can change the world — no matter what age we are.” VFP

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