2014 Community Investment Report
For Ruben Santana, it was supposed to be just another day in his Carson High School band class, but this was not just any day. Ruben’s teacher called him to the front of the class and announced he was the recipient of a $40,000 Edison Scholars award to help fund his college education.
Ruben, accompanied by a drum roll and the cheers of his fellow band students, accepted the oversized check from Edison International, parent company of Southern California Edison (SCE).
“Coming from a large family and a low-income family, especially living with like seven people in the house, it’s just an honor to be awarded this scholarship,” said Ruben with his mother, Alicia, looking on. “It makes it so much easier not to have to worry about the money.”
He loves math and science and hopes to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where he will pursue his interests in chemistry or physics.
Ruben was one of the first of 30 high school seniors to be recognized this year as an Edison Scholar. The scholarship program targets underrepresented minority, low-income students in Southern California pursuing a STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) education.
Edison International expanded the program three years ago so students now receive $40,000 scholarships paid over four years. This year, 2,768 high school seniors applied for the scholarship, an 86-percent increase over the 1,491 that applied last year.
Sophia Y. Lee learned about her Edison scholarship during a student assembly at La Sierra High School in Riverside. She has been accepted at Harvard University, but is also considering MIT or Yale.
She said the scholarship is a great relief financially for her parents, but it also has special meaning to her. “To me it means that Edison believes and supports me,” Sophia said. “That (the company) was willing to make an investment in me is truly pretty motivating and gives me confidence to succeed no matter how many obstacles or troubles that I encounter.”
She hopes to return to Riverside after graduation and use her environmental engineering degree to improve the air quality in her hometown.
When Kaitlin J. Brown got the word about her scholarship during yearbook class at City Honors High School in Inglewood, she burst into tears.
In her scholarship application, she noted how important the money would be because her mother is a single mom on a fixed income trying to put two children through college. Kaitlin hopes to attend SUNY’s College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry in Syracuse, N.Y.
Two Porterville students were also named Edison Scholars. Mason Gamble received his check during his environmental science class at Monache High School while Maria Torres Ramos got the news during her economics class at Porterville High School.
In the next week, 25 more students will learn that they have been named Edison Scholars.