FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown




The Northeast Ohio STEM Ecosystem (NeoSTEM) is partnering with International Soap Box Derby to stage a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Fair on the grounds of Derby Downs during the 84th FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby on Saturday, July 23.

NeoSTEM Ecosystem is a collaboration of companies and organizations working together to improve STEM learning opportunities and education programs for students throughout Northeast Ohio.

“Boys and girls who participate in the Soap Box Derby learn the basic principles of STEM while building and racing their race cars, including the importance of accurate measuring, proper wheel alignment, aerodynamics, friction and gravity,” said Mark Gerberich, the Soap Box Derby’s president and chief executive officer.

“We look forward to sharing these concepts involving critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration with young people and their parents who attend the STEM fair on race day,” Gerberich said.  “The fair will showcase the precise building processes these champions perform to prepare for the world championship.”

Participants in the All-American championships held at Derby Downs in July have won races in their home communities or have accumulated points in rallies held in cities throughout the United States.

In addition, the Soap Box Derby’s education programs provide hands-on experiences as students learn STEM concepts by designing and building full-size Soap Box Derby cars and the Mini-Car program fearing 1:13 scale models through in-school, after-school and summer programs. There also are Gravity Racing Challenge (GRC) races for in-school competition, as well as STEM summer day camps and student field trips to Derby Downs.

Ebony Hood, executive director for the NEO Stem Ecosystem, said “Our mission is to provide opportunities for students throughout Northeast Ohio to learn and experience STEM activities.   Soap Box Derby is a great partner, and we are proud to support the world championship in trying to draw more students to the race.”

Participating companies include FirstEnergy, Rockwell International, University of Akron Sports/STEM and robotics, Ellet Library, American Winds, Akron Fossils and Science Center, Rubber Division of American Chemical Society (ACS), Soap Box Derby, Derby historian Ron Reed, Props & Pistons, STEMSports, Skyhawks Sports Academy, and NEOStem (subject to change).

All parents and students are invited to attend the All-American championships and STEM Fair on Saturday, July 23 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.  The STEM Fair is included with the admission for the race.  Tickets are $5 in advance and $8 at the gate. Ticket information is available at