Credit: Jean Anderson
Irene Tang, a South Pasadena High School senior, shows off the medal she received as a 2015 Edison Scholars award recipient.

Credit: Jean Anderson
Francisco Martinez, SCE Local Public Affairs region manager, presents Irene Tang, a South Pasadena High School senior, with an enlarged ...

Isai Rea, a senior at King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science, holds an enlarged copy of the $40,000 check he received as a ...

Credit: Jean Anderson
Tammy Tumbling, SCE director of Philanthropy and Community Investment, gives Irene Tang her medal for her 2015 Edison Scholars award during ...

Father’s Stroke Sparks an Edison Scholar’s Dream

With the recent news of her $40,000 Edison Scholars award, Irene Tang will soon head to Swarthmore College.

  • By Mary Ann Milbourn
  • April 16, 2015

When Irene Tang’s father had a stroke a few years ago, it brought her college plans into focus. She always liked math and science, but her father’s illness, followed by a second stroke last year, set her on a course to pursue biomedical engineering.

“My father’s second stroke in 2014 sparked my curiosity in developing an affordable medical nanoscale robot for prospective stroke patients,” the South Pasadena High School senior said. “The robot should remove fatty deposits from artery walls and break up blood clots into smaller pieces before they cause damage to the brain.”

Irene won a coveted offer to attend Swarthmore College, a small private school outside Philadelphia. But tuition, room and board runs nearly $60,000 a year.

Edison International, parent company of Southern California Edison, gave Irene’s plans a major boost when she recently received a $40,000 Edison Scholars award.

Irene is one of 30 high school seniors in Southern California selected for this year’s scholarships. The program is aimed at underrepresented minority and low-income students. To be eligible, the applicant must have at least a 2.8 grade-point average and plan to major in STEM — science, technology, engineering or math. This year, 2,768 students applied, an 86-percent increase over the 1,491 last year.

An unsuspecting Irene learned the news during her noon-hour Advanced Placement biology class. She said she thought it was a little odd to see the photographers and a video crew in her classroom, but really didn’t give it any thought until Tammy Tumbling, SCE’s director of Philanthropy and Community Investment, strode into the class and called Irene to the front of the room.

“I almost forgot I applied for the scholarship,” said a stunned Irene. “It’s definitely going to help with tuition and room and board.”

Irene’s mother, Judy, attended the surprise class presentation. She said she always knew Irene was headed for great things because of her curiosity as a little girl. She always followed her father, an engineer, around, pestering him with questions.

It was Francisco Martinez, SCE Local Public Affairs region manager, who first called Judy about  her daughter’s selection as an Edison Scholar.

“I thought, ‘Wow, no way,’” she recalled. “We did not expect to get it.”

Another surprise visit took place at King-Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science where senior Isai Rea learned the news about his scholarship during his Advanced Placement calculus class.

Isai hopes to pursue civil engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.

“It is like a symbol of all the hard work I’ve put in and then I’ll take it with me to my dorm so I will remember that I am going to graduate in four years without any student loans,” he said after receiving the check. “That is going to be amazing."

Leave a Comment

We welcome your feedback and comments. We ask that you please keep them constructive, civil and respectful. If you wouldn’t say it in front of your mother, then there is a good chance it falls outside of our guidelines. Please read our comment policy here.

Related Stories

 Budding Young Scientist Gets Real-World Experience

Budding Young Scientist Gets Real-World Experience

Pomona Student Proves Girls Can Be Engineers Too

Pomona Student Proves Girls Can Be Engineers Too

 A Double Surprise for Diamond Bar High School Scholarship Winners

A Double Surprise for Diamond Bar High School Scholarship Winners

Top Stories

Strong and Prolonged Santa Ana Winds to Blow Through SoCal

Strong and Prolonged Santa Ana Winds to Blow Through SoCal

SCE Crews Work With First Responders to Gain Access to Fire-Damaged Areas

SCE Crews Work With First Responders to Gain Access to Fire-Damaged Areas

High Winds Drive Wildfires in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, Sylmar and Tujunga Areas

High Winds Drive Wildfires in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, Sylmar and Tujunga Areas

Edison Energy Group and its subsidiaries are not the same company as Southern California Edison, the utility, and they are not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission.

© 2017 Edison International

© 2017 Edison International

Download and Use Policy

This Site is owned by Edison International. Unless otherwise indicated, all of the content featured or displayed on this Site, including but not limited to, text, graphics, data, photographic images, moving images, sound, illustrations, computer code, trade marks and logos and the selection and arrangement thereof (referred to in this section as the "Content") is owned by Edison International, its licensors or its third-party image partners and all rights in relation to the Content are reserved. All Content is protected by copyright, trade dress, moral rights, trade mark rights and other laws relating to the protection of intellectual property. You may use the Content for your personal, or news-related, non-commercial use, but you may not otherwise reproduce, modify or in any way commercially exploit the Content.

Accept Decline