Engineering student Krista Miguel thought she was doing a presentation Tuesday morning when she walked into a conference room inside Fresno State’s Henry Madden Library and was surprised with a $20,000 scholarship.
Inside, where Pacific Gas and Electric Co. had organized a surprise announcement for the Better Together scholarship, Miguel was momentarily taken aback when she saw her parents, Andrew and Laurie.
Miguel, who just finished her junior year of college, assumed she would be doing a presentation on her work with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.
“So I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to talk about my work in that organization, and they mentioned I’d probably talk about my internship with PG&E,’ ” the 21-year-old student said.
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“I literally was not expecting this at all,” Miguel said. “When I applied for that scholarship, I really wasn’t anticipating much, because you don’t want to get your hopes up.”
Andrew Miguel learned May 18 that his daughter had won the scholarship.
“I didn’t tell her mother because I knew her mom couldn’t keep a secret,” he said. “So I waited until Sunday before I told her mom.”
I literally was not expecting this at all. When I applied for that scholarship, I really wasn’t anticipating much, because you don’t want to get your hopes up.
Krista Miguel, a Fresno State senior and engineering major
The Better Together scholarship is in its fourth year. Ten students who are at least high school seniors are chosen to receive up to $20,000 per year for five years while they finish their undergraduate degree.
Miguel, a 2012 graduate of Central High, is the fourth person from Fresno and the third Fresno State student to be selected, PG&E spokesman Denny Boyles said.
Unlike some scholarships, Better Together evaluates applicants on more than their academic performance, Boyles said.
“They don’t have to be an ‘A’ student,” he said. “In the beginning, we were looking for students who had overcome some challenges, and as it’s evolved, it’s begun to be specifically for the STEM students.”
STEM is the acronym for science, technology, engineering and math.
Miguel said the scholarship money will drastically change how she pays for her last undergraduate year.
“That’s like such a big number that I can’t really think about how it will affect a lot of things,” Miguel said. “Obviously, that’s more than any other scholarship I’ve ever received.”
The scholarship will let her complete her degree without any student debt, Miguel said.
That’s like such a big number that I can’t really think about how it will affect a lot of things.
“It’s really great to have our students recognized” by PG&E, said Ram Nunna, dean of the Lyles College of Engineering. “Krista’s been in our honors program, and we recruited her with great promise.”
Miguel said she is thankful that she chose a STEM career path.
“Engineering is never boring,” she said. “You’ll never have a boring assignment as an engineer.
“I really don’t see another fit as well as this one. I really enjoy the courses, though, of course, they are really difficult – there are days where you’re like, ‘Why, why did I do this?’
“But it is always worth it in the end,” Miguel said.