STEM_052023_12. jpg

As Chicago prepares for its first NASCAR road race, more than a dozen students get to tour the Chicago track in a full motion racing simulator. Students experience driving cars, and they also make parts of cars.

Last month, College Links' INROADS program, eRacing Association, STEM Lingo, and Sim Racing Chicago hosted an “experienced” Science Technology Engineering & Math (STEM) workshop for Chicago-area students at Venue SIX10 in the Loop.


“They do things that, when I was in high school, we never even tried, right?” said Jesse Iwuji, a NASCAR driver, team owner and a US naval officer. “We connect different wires together just to turn on a light bulb, and they work with sensors.”

With the help of STEM instructor Lingo, students set up a backup sensor that beeps when the car is in reverse. The students programmed it to beep when an object approached.

“I didn't even know anything about coding, but they exposed me to a different world of STEM,” says 16-year-old Amber Banks-Jenkins, a sophomore at Lincoln Park High School, who hopes to become a gynecologist one day. . He said he wasn't interested in STEM at first, but the experience gave him a new perspective. “Here, I might actually enjoy coding, like I have to be exposed to know if I like it or not.”

Amber Emmanuel, left, 17, a junior at Timothy Christian High School, and Alexandria Johnson, 17, a junior at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School, install a backup sensor during the eRacing Association STEM Workshop at Venue SIX10 in the Loop on May 20.

Students are driven by their excitement for cars as they jump into the driver's seat of the Sim Racing Chicago simulator, which is designed to mirror the Chicago Street Race track and mimic the motion of a race car. Beyond that, it's a learning experience.

Some students will be racing this weekend's NASCAR downtown to show off the sensors they've built.

“I love hearing about racing, like I didn't even know STEM was part of racing. I didn't even know STEM made NASCAR possible,” said Amber.

Derrick Tolbert, 16, a sophomore at St. Laurence High School in Burbank, wanted to learn more about racing and STEM, especially since he was about to get his driver's license, he said.

“Technology, because it's such a big part of our world right now, especially all the things that we learn, all the technology that we use, I want to gain more understanding of what I do so I can learn more and improve on that in the future. ,” said Derrick.