Whitney High School senior Max Peng awarded $50,000 Edison Scholarship to pursue STEM education at Harvard.
Submitted by Edison International
By Casey Wian ENERGIZED by Edison Writer
When Max Peng, a senior at Whitney High School in Cerritos, California, was a child making frequent trips from Southern California to his ancestral agricultural village in Hualien, Taiwan, he noticed something about his grandparents’ rice paddies. They needed a lot of water, a resource he knew was becoming scarce. He also learned in school that growing rice this way produces large amounts of greenhouse gases.
So, Max vowed to do something about it.
“I’m really interested in biology and its intersections with technology and society,” Peng said. “After college, I hope to work in research and help develop ways to grow rice that reduce water waste and greenhouse gas emissions.”
Peng plans to study environmental science and computer science at Harvard this fall and work toward “creating the foods of the future” after college.
In a surprise ceremony during a recent Whitney High artificial intelligence class, Maria Rigatti, Edison International executive vice president and chief financial officer, presented Peng with a $50,000 Edison scholarship, awarded to 30 outstanding students each year who have a financial need and plan to pursue a college degree in STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) subjects.
“These kids who get these scholarships, they are going to be the future. They study STEM,” Rigatti said. “It's what our business is built on, it’s what California is built on and it’s the best thing that we can do.”
An Edison Scholarship “means the world to me,” Peng said. “It really helps propel me to the finish line in terms of being able to afford college and continuing to make a positive impact on my community.”
Valerie Diaz, Peng’s guidance counselor at Whitney High, said helping others is second nature to Peng, whether it be a younger student preparing for a science competition or working with teachers in the classroom.
“Max has always been a really caring student. He does things he is genuinely passionate about, not just so it can be on his resume. I think that’s what sets him apart,” Diaz said.
“I’m very happy for my son,” said Maggie Peng, Max’s mother. “I appreciate that he had the chance to show that he is very hard-working. I feel lucky!”
So does Max. As he was awarded the scholarship in front of classmates, teachers and faculty, he made it a point to thank his family, who he says have always supported his academic pursuits.
“They’ve been with me all the way, and I hope to be able to help them in the future as well.”
Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, 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 Peng and all the 2023 Edison Scholars at the company’s Rosemead headquarters on May 5. To learn more about Peng and the Edison Scholars, visit the Edison Scholars 2023 Spotlight Page.
PHOTO CREDIT: ERNESTO SANCHEZ
VIDEO CREDIT: JOSEPH FOULK AND ERNESTO SANCHEZ
Edison International (NYSE:EIX), through its subsidiaries, is a generator and distributor of electric power and an investor in energy services and technologies, including renewable energy. Headquartered in Rosemead, Calif., Edison International is the parent company of Southern California Edison, one of the nation’s largest electric utilities.
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