Winning Formula: $50,000 Scholarship for Chemistry Major

Energized by Edison

Diane Castro ENERGIZED by Edison Writer

It was a typical morning in first period AP physics for Temple City High School senior Jackie Li until an unexpected guest speaker walked into the classroom.

Edison International President and CEO Pedro Pizarro called Li to the front of the class to surprise her with the life-changing news: “Congratulations, you’re an Edison Scholar, Jackie!”

“It was unbelievable. I kept thinking, ‘Is this for real? Is this really for me?’” said Li. “I don’t think I can fully comprehend the scale of what this means. I need to sit down.”

Li is among 30 high school seniors in Southern California Edison’s service area who earned a $50,000 Edison scholarship to study science, technology, engineering or math (STEM), cybersecurity or data analytics. Edison Scholars are also eligible for a paid summer internship with SCE upon completing their first year of school.

For Li, the immediate future is to major in chemistry. Through her teachers and various science competitions, Li found a love for environmental science and how it intersects with other scientific fields such as biology, chemistry and physics.

“I grew up in rural China, where it was mainly farmland, and you can see for miles on a clear day,” said Li. “However, in Los Angeles, when you look out toward the mountains, you see a layer of yellow smog and can’t really see the stars. I find a drastic difference between the two environments, and I don’t want L.A. to continue to be like this. I want to do something for the environment, make the world a better place and make an impact on the future.”

For the first time since 2019, students received the scholarship news with in-person surprise check presentations delivered by Edison representatives during school events that included a pep rally, an open house and in-classroom visits.

“The Edison Scholars Program is all about helping students achieve their dreams. Meeting these talented students and their families is the most fun I have in my job every year,” said Pizarro, who was joined in the classroom by Li’s mother, grandmother, school counselors, administrators and district representatives. “It is so gratifying to help bright and motivated students pursue their passion, be successful in college and lead the transition to a clean energy future. We believe in Jackie and all the scholars and hope they come to work with us someday.”

“I came to the United States as a Chinese immigrant when I was in kindergarten. Now, I am the first in my family to go to college in the U.S. It is nice to carry on the legacy,” Li said.

The morning was even more significant for her mother, YangYan Ou, from the surprise announcement to watching the newly named Edison Scholar pose for photo ops with school officials. “I am very proud of her. She has worked very hard for a long time,” Ou said, beaming with pride.

Li explained how the scholarship would allow her to forgo a part-time job: “This scholarship will allow me to pursue things like a paid internship in a research lab instead of just getting a job for the money.”

Edison International, the parent company of SCE, is one of the largest corporate philanthropic contributors in Southern California. The Edison Scholars Program is funded entirely by Edison International shareholders.

SCE will host a reception to celebrate Li and all the 2023 Edison Scholars at the company’s Rosemead headquarters on May 5. To learn more about the Edison Scholars, visit the Edison Scholar 2023 Spotlight Page.

CONTRIBUTORS

PHOTO CREDIT: ERNESTO SANCHEZ

VIDEO CREDIT: ERNESTO SANCHEZ AND ROBERTO LAZARTE

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