Redwood High student shines as SCE scholarship awardee

Redwood High School student Adam Hacker with a $50,000 scholarship check he was awarded by Southern California Edison.(Southern California Edison website.)

Redwood High School’s Adam Hacker is one of 30 students to earn a $50,000 scholarship from Southern California Edison

VISALIA – Southern California Edison (SCE) recently announced the winners of a $50,000 scholarship aimed at high school students who are pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and as it turns out, a Redwood High School student is one of the 30 winners.

Adam Hacker was surprised with the scholarship while on campus by SCE. According to an excerpt written about Hacker on the SCE website, in order to get access to computer science education, the Redwood student worked hard to meet the requirements for dual enrollment at a nearby college.

“He believes that expanding the limits of education should not be so difficult,” the excerpt reads. “By pursuing a degree in computer science, he hopes to develop new educational learning models and affordable technology that will augment the capabilities of curious students in rural towns and small cities.”

The cost of the scholarship is provided through SCE International shareholders and is not borne by ratepayers, according to Gabriela Ornelas, the SCE media relations advisor.

“This scholarship is a great opportunity for them,” Ornelas said. “It can make a big difference for them in their college careers and in their future. Another part of the scholarship is that the scholars have the opportunity to apply for an internship with Southern California Edison. What we look for is students who are passionate about STEM and they are passionate about using their education to make a difference.”

Hacker told SCE that he intends to enroll at the University of California, Berkeley, and wants to seek an education in electrical engineering and computer science.

“When I got to high school, (computer science) was all that I really wanted to explore, but I found it really difficult. We didn’t have any computer clubs, we didn’t offer any computer science classes,” Hacker explained in a video clip on the SCE website. “Artificial intelligence and augmented reality technologies are in their infancy, so I want to be at the forefront of their design. I want to ensure that we use ethics, community and caution when building these new products.” 

The selection process for the scholarship begins with students submitting an essay and a video clip.

“It really is a moment for students to tell us – and the world – what their intentions are as far as their college education, what they would like to do with it, and their hopes for the future and their role in it,” Ornelas said.

The scholarship is broken up into four annual payments to encourage students to complete their education. Recipients also must maintain a minimum grade point average and must have a 3.0 GPA just to apply for the scholarship.

One goal of the scholarship that Ornelas brought up is that scholars can pursue careers with SCE after graduation. She added that one former winner from McFarland is now an employee with SCE. 

“We completely support these students studying what they would like to within the STEM field, and of course, we always hope they will think of Southern California Edison and SCE International and – hopefully – consider us for their future careers as well,” Ornelas said.

She added that the scholarship not only helps fund students’ education, but it allows them access to a network of Edison engineers and mentors, and if they need other types of support, they are always welcome to reach out to SCE.

“We hope to encourage these students to consider SCE in the future and we just want to see them succeed in anything they pursue,” she said.

For Hacker, he said that his STEM mentor is his father.

“He taught me the only boundary that we face is the box we put ourselves in,” Hacker said. “He taught me to step outside of this box and to push past the boundaries of the Valley and to be myself. I don’t have to follow in the footsteps of my ancestors by becoming a farmer or a musician, I can be myself.”

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