Former River Valley student continues to receive scholarships

Sep. 18—Late last week, the PG&E Corporation Foundation announced that former River Valley High School student Alejandro Macias of Yuba City was among other students in the state who were awarded a scholarship by the nonprofit organization.

Macias' award of $5,000 from the foundation was among the $350,000 given through the 2023 Better Together STEM Scholarship Program to a total of 60 students who are pursuing higher education in California. The former River Valley graduate is currently attending the University of California, Berkeley and majoring in electrical engineering and computer science.

"I am pleased to be a Better Together STEM Scholarship Recipient," Macias said in a statement. "It will allow me to focus more on academics as the scholarship will help fund my college journey as I am studying electrical engineering and computer science at UC Berkeley."

Near the end of his senior year at River Valley High School, Macias was the recipient of several area scholarships. Most notably, he received a $40,000 scholarship from Amazon, officials previously announced in April.

The company's Future Engineer Scholarship awards students $10,000 per year toward an undergraduate degree in engineering or computer science along with a summer internship at Amazon, the Appeal previously reported.

At the time, Macias was credited as having a 4.41 GPA and being heavily involved in school activities, clubs and sports, River Valley Principal Lee McPeak said. Macias served as president of River Valley High School's coding club and played basketball and tennis.

"It's always exciting to see hard work pay off. It couldn't happen to a better kid and family," McPeak previously said. "He epitomizes what it means to excel inside and outside of the classroom. This isn't the last time you'll hear the name Alejandro Macias. ... His future is incredibly bright. Congratulations, Alejandro! You deserve it."

A few months after the Amazon announcement, Macias was named as a recipient of other community scholarships.

In June, the Sutter Yuba Community Foundation announced Macias was awarded the Le Beck Rise Up Scholarship worth $1,000. Around the same time, Macias was honored by and received a $500 scholarship from the Alliance for Hispanic Advancement. Later that month, the Yuba City Early Risers Kiwanis Club announced that Macias was the recipient of a memorial scholarship.

The $350,000 in scholarships given out this year by the PG&E Corporation Foundation's 2023 Better Together STEM Scholarship Program is an increase of $100,000 from 2022, officials said. The foundation sponsored 20 scholarships of $10,000, 20 scholarships of $5,000, and 20 scholarships of $2,500 each. Officials said the $5,000 scholarships were new this year.

The scholarships are awarded to students who pursue a degree in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. According to officials, a STEM education fosters ingenuity, creativity, and experimentation which can lead to new ideas, innovations, and technological advancements.

"We're proud to be able to do our part to help alleviate some of the financial burden of college tuition for families in the North Valley & Sierra Region so these seven exceptional students can pursue their STEM-based, higher education goals," Joe Wilson, PG&E's regional vice president of PG&E's North Valley & Sierra Region, said in a statement. "We're even more excited to be able to provide a larger number of scholarships this year. We congratulate all of this year's scholars."

Officials said scholarships are awarded based on academic achievement, demonstrated participation and leadership in school and community activities, and financial need.

"Since 2012, the Better Together STEM Scholarship Program has awarded more than $7 million to accomplished students," officials said. "Charitable donations come from PG&E shareholders, not PG&E customers."