2020 Edison Scholars Get a Virtual Surprise
The day before April Fools’ Day, Daniel Silva Rios received a virtual surprise in the form of a video congratulating him for being named a 2020 Edison Scholar and winner of the $40,000 scholarship. Only it wasn’t a practical joke.
“My mom and my brother were jumping up and down in joy and my dad gave me a big hug and said, ‘I’m proud of you,’” said Silva Rios, a senior at Avalon K-12 on Catalina Island.
Silva Rios is one of 30 high school seniors across Southern California Edison’s service area whose passion for science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) has paid off with a $40,000 scholarship, paid over four years, under Edison International’s $1.2 million Edison Scholars Program.
Since 2006, the program has awarded more than $11.1 million in scholarships to 670 students.
For Silva Rios, the scholarship news was welcome, especially during the state’s stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He recently learned that his school will be closed for the rest of the school year and there will be no graduation.
“The scholarship is a big game-changer for me,” said Silva Rios, who plans to major in electrical engineering at the University of Denver this fall. “It’ll help me pay for college, get a degree in what I want and hopefully will support my dreams of fighting climate change and giving back to the community.”
With his college education, he aspires to find more ways to improve the generation and storage of energy and shift the focus from fossil fuels to clean energy.
Lizbeth Arias, a Rancho Mirage High School senior in Riverside County, had to rewatch her congratulatory video several times before it sank in that she was an Edison Scholar.
“I was definitely caught off guard. I thought it was really considerate because they put in effort to make it more special and surprising,” she said. “My mom was so excited. There were a lot of hugs.”
Arias has always led a busy life as a varsity tennis, soccer and track athlete and the co-founder of the Women Empowerment Club. While life has changed dramatically in the past couple months, she’s optimistic for her future as an independent college student.
“I don’t rely on my parents financially. So, once I received that scholarship, I felt comfortable choosing the school of my liking regardless of the cost,” said Arias, who recently committed to UCLA to pursue her love for applied mathematics. “It has given me a choice.”
Tony Chang, a senior at Upland High School, loves to hike, bike and skateboard, but jokes he’s still a nerd.
Chang will attend Stanford University and major in environmental science and possibly biology. He hopes to find better solutions and ideas to further medical research while benefitting the environment.
“I’ve always liked the environment,” said Chang. “We need to preserve what we have because climate change is real.”
Chang muses that the scholarship means a lot for not only himself, but for his family and teachers. “It shows how far I’ve come along and grown in the past four years,” he said. “School was an outlet for me to learning. I didn’t care about grades, I just liked learning. I guess I was a nerd.”
For students graduating high school in 2021, the Edison Scholars application period will open in the fall. To learn more, visit edisonscholars.com. The Edison Scholars Program is funded by shareholder dollars, not SCE customers' utility bills.