Tragedies Inspire Montebello High School Senior’s Career Plans

Ulysses Acero will use a $40,000 Edison Scholars scholarship to study engineering to help create safer equipment for the workplace.

Ulysses Acero has known since eighth grade that he wanted to be a mechanical engineer. That was when a childhood friend died going downhill on a bicycle that had no brakes.

Now a senior at Montebello High School, Ulysses redoubled his commitment when he learned that his former swimming coach’s husband, Jacob Moon, died on the job. Moon was a Southern California Edison troubleman who died while responding to a customer’s outage during a storm in January. Moon left behind his wife, Eliana, whom Ulysses is still close to, and the couple’s two young children.

Ulysses wants to do something with his education in mechanical engineering to help prevent those kinds of accidents in the future.

“I would like to make safe parts to reduce the risks at work,” Ulysses said.

His college plans recently got a boost when he learned he was selected for a $40,000 Edison Scholars scholarship. Edison International, SCE’s parent company, awards the scholarships every year to 30 low-income high school seniors who want to major in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM).

He said he wanted to attend UCLA, but as one of six children, it was going to be tough financially.

“This is so amazing,” said Ulysses, after receiving the oversized $40,000 check on the steps of his high school. “Now I’ll be able to continue my education, thanks to Edison International.”

The competition was stiff for the scholarships, with 933 students across SCE's service territory applying.

To be eligible, applicants had to have a GPA of at least 3.0, demonstrate financial need and live in or attend high school in SCE’s service area. They also must plan to attend a four-year college and major in electrical, environmental, mechanical, civil, computer or industrial engineering, in computer sciences/information systems or environmental sciences.

“We want to give opportunities to talented students like Ulysses to get their college degree and pursue their dreams,” said Tammy Tumbling, SCE’s director of Philanthropy and Community Investment. “By supporting students in STEM studies, we are helping create the 21st century workforce that Edison and the country needs.”

Since 2006, Edison International has awarded $5.3 million in scholarships to 520 students.