SAN DIEGO – San Diego Gas & Electric announced July 12 that it has awarded $10,000 scholarships to 10 local high school and college students who are pursuing undergraduate studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) – many of them first-generation college students who face financial barriers to higher education.
These are the first scholarships given by SDG&E under its newly launched Inspiring Future Leaders STEM Scholarship Program, which builds on the company's long history of investing in STEM education to foster the region's future generations of diverse and highly skilled workforce.
Scholarship winners who maintain their eligibility can have their scholarships renewed for an additional three years – meaning they could receive up to a total of $40,000 in financial aid.
"Today, many jobs require a STEM education, so it's essential that we help build the talent pipeline by expanding access to higher education," said SDG&E CEO Caroline Winn, who is an electrical engineer by training and a leading advocate for getting more women and people of color into STEM careers. "Through the scholarship program, we hope to create a STEM workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau and Pew Research, women only make up 27% of the STEM workforce, while people of color only make up 33%.
Selected from a pool of more than 150 applicants from San Diego and southern Orange County communities served by SDG&E, the scholarship recipients are local women and students of color. Some of the college degrees being pursued by the scholarship recipients include biochemistry, biology, civil engineering, data science, mechanical engineering, neuroscience and physics.
"My goal after graduating college and hopefully earning my PhD, is to devote my life to marine and coastal conservation and research so that future generations will experience this wondrous part of the world," said Annie Riley, of Fallbrook, who will attend CSU Long Beach and major in marine science.
Kathy Caputo, director of Partners in College Success, said it's rare to see multi-year, renewable scholarships of the size offered by SDG&E.
"Many of the students we work with need financial support throughout their college career in order to complete their degrees." Caputo said. "We hope other organizations will follow in SDG&E's footsteps and make it more accessible for women and people of color to enter STEM careers,"
The STEM scholarship is administered by Scholarship America, the nation's largest designer and manager of scholarships and other education support programs for corporations, foundations, associations and individuals. The program is funded by company shareholders, not SDG&E customers.
Submitted by San Diego Gas & Electric.