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Fourth cohort of UIC CHANCE students named ComEd Scholars

ComEd CEO and UIC Community members.

Two University of Illinois Chicago engineering students were recently named ComEd Scholars and will be provided scholarships to fill the tuition gap not covered by financial aid.

The students, Chanel Hamilton and Aaron Tillery, make up the 2022 ComEd Scholars fourth cohort and are part of the UIC CHANCE program’s STEM Academy.

Tillery is a second-year student from Chicago’s Washington Heights neighborhood who is pursuing a degree in computer engineering, and Hamilton is a first-year student from suburban Country Club Hills who is pursuing an engineering degree.

Tillery said he was extremely grateful and honored to be one of ComEd’s new scholarship recipients. He said he was thankful for “all of the amazing leaders and staff” at UIC, CHANCE and ComEd.

“Since entering college, I have been able to work harder and get one step closer to my dream of becoming a computer engineer. Being able to build technology for the future and help my city is something that I strive to achieve,” Tillery said. “With the help of ComEd and the CHANCE program, I am on the path to doing so. I am blessed and excited about what the future holds.”

As a new college student and as a first-generation student, Hamilton said she appreciated the help and financial support that CHANCE and ComEd have offered her. The support began for her when she was involved in the program’s summer engineering class.

UIC Students

“Not only did I learn how to do some of the more difficult aspects of engineering as an aspiring engineer, but I also learned about the open and inclusive environment at UIC,” Hamilton said. “I was extremely excited to apply to UIC when I heard about this incredible opportunity with ComEd because I admire the work that ComEd has done for the community. I will make CHANCE and ComEd proud.”

The ComEd Scholars program aims to invest in a diverse workforce, ComEd officials said. In addition to the UIC students, two students from the Illinois Institute of Technology, also known as Illinois Tech, also were recipients.

The ComEd Scholars program, in its fourth year, provides scholarships to students pursuing degrees in STEM that cover education-related costs that exceed financial aid. Since the ComEd Scholars Program’s inception in 2019, 26 students have been awarded support.

“ComEd’s commitment to creating the diverse STEM workforce of the future exemplifies what it means to create equitable pathways for the next generation of leaders and change-makers,” said UIC Interim Chancellor Javier Reyes. “We are thankful for this partnership and investment in UIC students.”

ComEd CEO Gil Quiniones said the scholarships represent “an investment in your academic and professional journey.” He said the company aims to provide students with exposure through its internships and assistance to become STEM leaders.

In addition to financial assistance, the ComEd Scholars are also granted the opportunity to interview for internships at ComEd and its parent company, Exelon, and are encouraged to participate in a mentorship program with ComEd engineers.

“At ComEd we are committed to diversifying the STEM workforce and supporting talented students from across our communities,” Quiniones said. “The ComEd Scholars program seeks to give students knowledge, confidence and resources to not only achieve their education and career aspirations, but to also have a meaningful impact in their communities for years to come.”

UIC’s CHANCE program began in 2004 and was designed to assist the university with its goal to increase recruitment, retention and graduation rates of underrepresented students in partnership with Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges of Chicago, community-based organizations, various suburban school districts and charter schools. CHANCE stands for Counseling Help and Assistance Necessary for a 21st Century College Education.

“This partnership continues to enhance the lives of our scholars. The CHANCE Program is delighted to work with ComEd,” CHANCE Director Khalilah Young said. “This opportunity is life-altering; we are so grateful to ComEd for investing in the brilliant minds here at UIC.”