Academy Overview

The Opt4STEM Energy Academy is a nine-day summer program that immerses Von students into the field of Energy. Participants go on site visits to Exelon energy plants across the Chicagoland, meet and work alongside energy professionals, and engage in challenging hands-on, energy-related activities and projects with fellow Von students.  Activities in the Energy Academy include:


  • Touring Exelon Nuclear and Solar Energy Plants

  • Learning About Career Paths in Energy Fields

  • Building Energy Efficient Homes with Habitat for Humanity

  • Conducting an Energy Audit of Illinois Tech


Dates and Location

The Opt4STEM Energy Academy 2018 runs from July 11 - 21 and takes place at Illinois Tech, Exelon, and the Museum of Science and Industry.  Most days of the program start and end at Illinois Tech and students are provided Ventra cards for travel. The calendar of events for the previous year, Energy Academy 2017 can be found below. 






Check out the video to see why other Von students applied and what they got out of participating in the Opt4STEM Energy Academy.





















Selected students receive a $2000 scholarship to cover the cost of the program and transportation. Students are awarded their scholarship at the Opt4STEM Energy Academy Scholarship and Informational Meeting. Students and parents are required to attend to receive the scholarship.   







“The Energy Academy taught me so much about the energy industry and I feel if I was to go to college for a STEM career, I know where to start."


"Meeting people who work with energy and hearing their stories helped me realize STEM has something for everyone." 


"It was truly amazing to be able to visit a wide variety of places that not many people get to visit, especially so because they were places that contribute such a huge part in our lifestyle" - Colette Conway, 2016 Participant.





How to Apply

This Academy is open to all current Von Steuben Freshman, Sophomores, and Juniors. The application consists of two forms, a Student Form, and a Parent Form, and both must be submitted by the application deadline for the application to be considered complete.

After applications are reviewed, applicants will be invited to an in-person interview that will take place at Von Steuben before official selections are made. 


Applications are due Sunday, April 1st.



Student Profiles​​​

Profiles of the Energy Academy participants can be found below.   





2018 Energy Academy Participants

2017 Energy Academy Participants

2016 Energy Academy Participants