STEM Student Makes Waves As Edison Scholar

Palos Verdes High School senior Janna Lee surprised with a $50,000 scholarship from Edison International to study environmental science.
May 23, 2023 10:00 AM ET

Energized by Edison

Shulie Tornel ENERGIZED by Edison Writer

From a young age, Janna Lee often visited Morro Bay with her family. She was captivated by the sleepy fishing village’s serene waters and spent hours on the shore exploring and picking out her favorite rocks. Family trips to state and national parks planted a seed in Lee that has bloomed into a deep fondness for the environment. 

Today, Lee devotes as much time as she can to community outreach and volunteering. She serves as the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Teen Science Café Leader and is co-president of Palos Verdes High School’s Science National Honor Society. 

“Instead of just focusing on getting good grades, she got involved with the Point Vicente Interpretive Center as a Junior Docent and the Aquarium of the Pacific. She wanted to broaden her opportunities,” said Jennifer Lee, Janna’s mother. “It took up every weekend. I would always ask, ‘Janna, don't you need downtime to do other things?’” 

Her answer would always be the same, “Mom, my downtime is for the Aquarium of the Pacific and volunteering.” 

Lee plans to attend the University of California, Berkeley this fall. “I hope to study environmental science and policy, how humans interact with nature and how we can protect it,” Lee said. “I live by the ocean and I’ve visited every national park. I want to do something to give back to our planet.” 

Lee is among 30 high school seniors across Southern California Edison’s service area selected as 2023 Edison Scholars. The annual Edison International program recognizes students who are committed to working toward positive change in the world. Each Edison Scholar receives $50,000 to help them pursue a college degree in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM). The program is fully funded by shareholders. 

Steven Powell, SCE president and CEO, surprised Lee and her family during a recent lunch period to deliver the good news.

“For Southern California students, this scholarship can help close the gap in their financial ability to pursue the education they need to fulfill their dreams,” Powell said. “We are proud to help these students as they make their impact on the world and look forward to them joining us in building a clean energy future.” 

Scholars who meet the minimum requirements and complete the required screening are also eligible for a paid summer internship with SCE upon completing their first year of college. 

When classes at Palos Verdes High School moved to a virtual environment, Julie Maemoto, science teacher and advisor of the Science National Honor Society, fondly recalls meeting Lee in her anatomy and physiology honors class. 

"She stood out in a COVID year where students were behind the screen,” Maemoto said. “Her engagement in great discussions, in small groups and as a sophomore in a senior class made her a leader for me that year.”

Loraine Loh-Norris, a math teacher and Palos Verdes High School engineering department chair, expects Lee to embrace policy and law and find like-minded students in college. 

“This scholarship is going to allow her to take advantage of more opportunities in college. Hopefully, she's going to help our world with our current climate and global issues and make a huge impact,” Loh-Norris said. 

Lee plans to do exactly that in college and beyond. “Plants can’t speak for themselves and I hope to advocate for them and the planet. I hope my future education and career will make a difference on our planet.” 

Learn more about the scholarship program at




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