When Chika Okonkwo’s high school counselor told her about a scholarship she should apply for, she thought it was the usual $500 to $1,000 awards she had been applying for.
She had never heard of Edison International, the sponsor of the scholarship. But the big shock came when she learned the amount of the award: $40,000 over four years.
“This scholarship means a lot to me because I will be able to graduate college loan free,” said Okonkwo, 18.
It’s a far cry from anything she could have dreamed about as a young girl growing up in Nigeria with her twin sister and parents.
“Think about it, a 13-year-old girl that emigrated from an undeveloped country and had no clue of what to expect in America is able to receive a higher education that is completely funded.”
The 2013-2014 Edison Scholars application opens on Oct. 1 and runs through Jan. 10, 2014. High school seniors will have a chance to become an Edison Scholar like Okonkwo. To apply, students need to visit www.scholarsapply.org/edisonscholars and complete the application online.
Graduating high school students who plan to study the STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) fields and come from low-income families are encouraged to apply for the 30 available scholarships.
“At Edison International, we realize that higher education is a transformative tool that fuels the future,” said Tammy Tumbling, director of Philanthropy & Community Investment for Southern California Edison. “As an energy company, we recognize the skills needed for our future workforce and to help advance our country.
“The Edison Scholars Program is an excellent opportunity for any high school student in Edison International’s service area who has a 2.8 GPA or better and wants to pursue higher education in the STEM field,” Tumbling added. “If you know prospective high school seniors who qualify and would benefit from the four-year scholarship, please pass the word along and encourage them to apply.”
Even as a little girl, Jasmine Esparza, 18, remembers loving science and math. As she got older, her love turned into a passion for engineering and she eventually became a member of WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering).
It was her high school teacher Mr. Wuchner who encouraged her to first apply for the Edison International scholarship.
This fall, her dream of studying engineering came true when she began her classes at the University of California, Berkeley, thanks to her $40,000 Edison scholarship.
“This fall I get to start on that journey and I am excited about being part of the few strong individualistic women pursuing a career in engineering,” said Esparza.
“I did not have the luxury of affording a good school … Thanks to the scholarship from Edison International, I have the money to go to an amazing school.”
For more information about the Edison scholarships, visit www.scholarsapply.org/edisonscholars.