Students Realize Dreams Through Edison Scholars Program
Hanford High School senior Keslee Green still can’t believe she’s a 2017 Edison Scholar and the recipient of a $40,000 scholarship.
“I kind of laughed in disbelief. I was like, wait a second, is this right?” she said of opening the Edison International congratulatory letter she received in the mail. “My parents were screaming.”
Green is one of 30 high school seniors across Southern California Edison’s service territory 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 $7.7 million in scholarships to support high school graduates pursuing STEM studies at a four-year college or university.
“I want to work with national parks and forests,” said Green, 18, who plans to attend Utah State and major in wildlife science this fall. “I really like animals and hiking and outdoors. I would love to study animals and help conserve the parks and forests that we have.”
Without the Edison International scholarship, she said she would either not attend college or have to take out multiple school loans.
“Oh my God. It’s so going to help me,” Green said. “My parents can’t help me with school because of financial circumstances. I really want to work hard to make sure I can have a secure future. The scholarship really helps solidify that.”
Armani Aguiar, 17, a senior at James A. Garfield Senior High School in East Los Angeles, is headed to Princeton where he will major in computer science.
He got hooked on computers in middle school and recognizes the importance of computers in everyday life, and how technology makes our lives easier.
“I hope to evolve society economically, socially and culturally through technology, creative thinking and self-awareness,” said the first college-bound student in his family. “By traveling the world to gain new knowledge and perspectives, I can better understand the complex world I live in to one day lead my own tech company dedicated to solving issues plaguing the globe.”
He said the Edison scholarship will let him focus on his studies rather than worry about paying for college. “This scholarship just gave me financial stability and made sure I’m going to have a future where I won’t have to worry about money.”
At Princeton, Aguiar looks forward to meeting people from various backgrounds and cultures to reach new heights in his education and future career goals. Later, he intends to return to his community to inspire others and share his knowledge.
“I want to come back to my community to educate others through my experiences in different aspects of society and give them more opportunities to achieve their dreams,” he said.
Christine Nguyen, a senior at El Toro High School in Lake Forest, was visiting a college when she received a text from her mom — she got the Edison scholarship.
“A lot of my extracurricular activities have been focused around hunger outreach, and that stemmed from talking to the people who stop by my parent’s laundromat,” she said.
Her experience opened her eyes to the reality of homelessness in Orange County despite its stereotype of being wealthy, so she got proactive and helped expand a community garden program by securing grants, including one to grow crops for those in need.
“One in five children in Orange County are at risk of hunger each month,” said Nguyen.
She hopes to discover and flesh out the untold stories and issues with statistics and to find solutions through applied mathematics.
Nguyen plans to study at the University of California, Berkeley, and is grateful for the opportunities the scholarship will bring.
“The ability to focus on my studies in college is a luxury I’m really happy to have,” she said.