WHITTIER – Pioneer High School senior Ana Cortez received the shock of her life when she was surprised with a $40,000 Edison scholarship while sitting in her AP Chemistry class on March 20, surrounded by friends, classmates and teachers. Cortez is one of just 30 Southern California high school students to be named a 2019 Edison Scholar.
Cortez’s parents, accompanied by a Southern California Edison representative, presented her with the scholarship, which will go toward her dream of pursuing a STEM major at a university.
“I didn’t know this was going to happen. I’m still in shock,” Cortez said. “I am so happy for my parents. They’ve worked so hard to enable me to maintain my studies. It’s always been my dream to go to college. To share this moment with my friends, family and teachers is incredible.”
Cortez has taken more than 19 Honors/AP classes and maintains a 4.3 GPA. She plans to major in bio-engineering to prepare for a career creating technological advancements for people with disabilities, including artificial prosthetics at an affordable price.
“Ultimately, my dream is to spread my innovations globally so that everyone around the world can have access to these products and have equal opportunities to thrive and live healthy lives,” Cortez said.
Cortez been actively involved in the Whittier College Artemis science mentoring program for girls and is a four-year member of Pioneer’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) college prep program. She is also captain of Pioneer’s varsity tennis team.
Cortez has applied to numerous colleges, including Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley and UC San Diego, but her dream school is UCLA. Cortez has not yet decided which college she will attend.
“I am beyond proud for Ana. She deserves this and more,” Principal Lilia Bozigian said. “Like many of our AVID students, Ana is a first-generation college-goer who has demonstrated that through commitment and dedication, every Pioneer student can achieve their dream.”