Nathaniel Clay, 18, has big dreams. One day he hopes to create an app to help teachers better communicate with students through computer games.
“Games that are relatable to the games that kids play at home — just that the focus would be on mathematics, English and science,” said Clay, a high school senior who plans to pursue a degree in computer programming and coding.
And he might be one step closer now. At the recent Black College Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Clay stopped by the Edison International booth and learned the company is offering $40,000 scholarships to 30 graduating seniors who are pursuing a degree in the STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) fields.
Clay sat down at the computer console and immediately applied for one of the coveted scholarships. He managed to get in just before the Feb. 1 application deadline.
So far, more than 2,700 high school seniors pursuing a STEM degree have applied for the 30 Edison scholarships. Students will be selected in March and the 30 winners will receive $10,000 for each of their four years of study.
Brent Claypool, 17, a senior at Knight High School in Palmdale, wants to study electrical engineering or computer science at MIT or the University of Chicago. He knows that a $40,000 scholarship would go a long way toward helping him get there.
“I think it is really great that Edison reached out to me and asked me if I am interested in applying for one of its scholarships,” he said. “I am humbled to know that such a big corporation believes in me.”
Claypool was one of 16,000 students who attended the 16th annual Black College Expo. The event was put on by the nonprofit National College Resources Foundation, whose mission is to help underserved students gain access to college, careers and beyond. Its year-round outreach program connects students to colleges and certificate programs, provides scholarships and offers tutorials for college readiness.
“This expo allows us to help underserved and underrepresented students with access to college,” said Theresa Price, founder of the National College Resource Foundation. “It also gives us the ability to work with low-resource students one-on-one, providing intervention, mentoring, academic support and college and career planning.”
Melissa Martinez, 18, came to the expo looking for scholarship opportunities. She hopes she will be selected as one of the Edison Scholars in March.
“It is such a great opportunity that companies like Edison offer scholarships for computer science majors like me,” she said.
Edison International provided a $35,000 sponsorship for the recent Black College Expo. The company has sponsored the event for the past nine years.
“At Edison International, we recognize that higher education is a transformative tool,” said Tammy Tumbling, Southern California Edison’s director of Philanthropy and Community Investment. “We place special emphasis on awarding scholarships to underrepresented and underserved students pursuing careers in the STEM fields as well as supporting college access programs such as this expo.”