Ruben, accompanied by a drum roll and the cheers of his fellow band students, accepted the oversized check from Edison International, parent company of Southern California Edison (SCE).

“Coming from a large family and a low-income family, especially living with like seven people in the house, it’s just an honor to be awarded this scholarship,” said Ruben with his mother, Alicia, looking on. “It makes it so much easier not to have to worry about the money.”

He loves math and science and hopes to attend the University of California, Berkeley, where he will pursue his interests in chemistry or physics.

Ruben was one of the first of 30 high school seniors to be recognized as an Edison Scholar in 2015. The scholarship program targets underrepresented minority, low-income students in Southern California pursuing a STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) education.

Edison International expanded the program three years ago so students now receive $40,000 scholarships paid over four years. This year, 2,768 high school seniors applied for the scholarship, an 86-percent increase over the 1,491 that applied last year.

For more stories on Edison Scholars and other Edison news, visit Edison's Online Newsroom.

To learn more about Edison's philanthropic programs, read Power in Partnerships: Community Investment Report 2014.