Collegiate Dreams Come True for Edison Scholars

These high school seniors plan to pursue careers in bioengineering and environmental science and will each receive $40,000 scholarships from Edison International.
Photo Credit: Elisa Ferrari and Maria Hedrick
Video Credit: Joseph Foulk, Ernesto Sanchez and Roberto Lazarte

B-roll (Jimin Lee)
B-roll (Nnaemeka Anyanwu)

Jimin Lee, 17, was in kindergarten when her parents first took her to a nature preserve. Since then, she’s had a passion for the environment and makes regular visits to national parks, including Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree.

Her passion is also local. A senior at Cypress High School, she and her friends recently partnered with the school district to increase its recycling efforts and she’s also brought awareness to the polluting algal blooms in neighborhood trenches.

“I love being around nature,” said Lee. “I’m really passionate about saving the planet and living in harmony with everything and everyone around me.”

Kevin Payne, Southern California Edison CEO, suprises Jimin Lee with a 2019 Edison Scholar scholarship.
Kevin Payne, Southern California Edison CEO, surprises Jimin Lee with a 2019 Edison Scholar scholarship.      PHOTO: Elisa Ferrari

Lee plans to pursue a career in environmental science and has accepted early admittance to MIT. And now with her $40,000 Edison Scholars award, she is well on her way to making her collegiate dreams come true.

“We are recognizing students with big dreams and helping them along the way,” said Kevin Payne, Southern California Edison CEO, as he presented Lee with a check and Edison Scholar medal. “These STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) students will help improve our environment and we hope they also help us create a clean energy future.”

Amid loud cheers from fellow students and teachers, Lee learned of her scholarship during a recent surprise presentation in her school’s media center. In the audience was her mother, Soung Suk Lee, who was as surprised as her daughter to learn of the award.

“My heart is pounding,” said Lee’s mom. “I am so happy — she is an amazing daughter.”

Jimin Lee, 2019 Edison Scholar, with her mom Soung Suk Lee.
Jimin Lee, 2019 Edison Scholar, with her mom Soung Suk Lee.       PHOTO: Elisa Ferrari

The $1.2 million Edison Scholars Program awards $40,000 scholarships each year, paid over four years, to 30 high school seniors pursuing STEM degrees and who live in SCE’s service area. With the addition of the 2019 Edison Scholars, Edison International has awarded more than $9.9 million in scholarships to 640 students since 2006.

Nnaemeka Anyanwu, a senior at Santiago High School in Corona, dreams of being an orthopedist. And now with an Edison Scholars award, he is one huge step closer to his goal.

“This means so much,” said the student body president, as teachers and fellow students cheered him on at a surprise announcement recently during his third-period class. “This gives me the opportunity to pursue my collegiate dreams.”

Kevin Walker, SCE vice president, presents Nnaemeka Anyanwu with a 2019 Edison Scholar scholarship.
Kevin Walker, SCE vice president, presents Nnaemeka Anyanwu with a 2019 Edison Scholar scholarship.     PHOTO: Maria Hedrick

The son of Nigerian immigrants, it was on a family trip to Nigeria a few years back after visiting his mom’s secondary school that he was inspired to create the nonprofit KENDU (Knowledge and Education Nigerian Development Union). The nonprofit helps high school students in Nigeria get updated school materials and technical tools like laptops.

“This has been the most eventful day of my life,” said Nnaemeka, who called his mom on his cellphone to let her know about the scholarship. “I have a crazily supportive family,” he added, as his mom exclaimed, “My son, I am so proud of you,” after hearing about the $40,000 scholarship.

The National Honor Society vice president has applied to several schools, but is still deciding where he will attend.

“It’s very clear that you are a special young man and you have a super bright future,” said Kevin Walker, SCE senior vice president of Customer and Operational Services, who presented Nnaemeka with a check and Edison Scholar medal. “Hopefully, Edison will be part of [your future] as you move on.”

The Edison Scholars Program is funded by Edison International shareholder dollars, not ratepayer dollars.
For more information about STEM internships and careers at SCE, visit: edisoncareers.com.