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Southern California Edison Earns Engineering Vanguard Award

June 9, 2014

Southern California Edison has been selected as this year’s recipient of the UC Merced School of Engineering Vanguard Margin of Excellence Award.

“Southern California Energy’s partnership with UC Merced has created countless opportunities for engineering students to positively impact their communities,” School of Engineering Dean Dan Hirleman wrote to the company, calling it a model partner for the university.

The Vanguard Award was created to honor corporate partners that have had a transformational effect on the educational experience of School of Engineering students.

Since 2006, Southern California Edison (SCE) has given the campus nearly $700,000 to support nearly 75 undergraduate scholarships and four graduate fellowships, has served as a lead sponsor for the annual Innovate to Grow competition and expo, supported campus organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers and has had leaders serve on UC Merced’s Board of Trustees.

The undergraduate scholarships support students in science, technology, engineering and math majors, and the graduate fellowships continue to fund research toward improving the prediction of water supply in the watersheds of the Southern Sierra Nevada. Projects include making more accurate snow/moisture measurements; understanding forest thinning’s impacts on water supply; and understanding the changes in available water supply with a shift in precipitation at different elevations in the Sierra.

The second year of Innovate to Grow funding supports teams seeking real solutions to critical engineering problems in the San Joaquin Valley – for health, industry and utilities.

Award recipients are chosen by an advisory committee comprising students and faculty and staff members, led by Hirleman, and the award is based on support and service.

Leslie Starck, the senior vice president for SCE regulatory policy and affairs, came to campus to receive the award presented by Hirleman on behalf of The Vanguard, a group of student presidents from nine campus engineering organizations.

“SCE is proud to be named The Vanguard Award recipient for 2014 from the UC Merced School of Engineering,” Starck said. “This university is preparing the future workforce of California in STEM majors with leadership skills in innovation and design, and we are proud to be partnering with the campus to help power California into the future.”

The award is a glass art piece that forever commemorates the campus’s appreciation for its partnership with SCE.

“Southern California Edison has demonstrated continuous corporate philanthropy, supporting the engineering student experience,” Vanguard President Alyson Cabral said. “We are so happy to honor such strong support of the engineering program.”