A deserving Chico State student, Rigoberto Vazquez Jr., was awarded a PG&E Better Together Scholarship of up to $5,000 per year for up to four years. Vazquez is one of 20 Northern and Central California students chosen from 2,000 applicants to receive the scholarship to complete their college degrees.

PG&E’s fifth annual Better Together Scholarship program helps to cover undergraduate education expenses for selected high school seniors, or college, university or vocational-technical students to complete their higher education paths.

PG&E Better Together STEM scholarships are awarded based on a combined demonstration of community leadership, personal triumph, financial need and academic achievement.

A junior, Vazquez plans to pursue a doctorate and do scholarly research in nuclear engineering to explore some of the areas of plasma radiation, primarily the effects radiation has on nuclear materials.

Growing up, Vazquez did not have a stable home and returned to Mexico at age three before returning to the U.S. in the tenth grade to attend Orestimba High School in Newman.

Determined to go to college, he enrolled at Chico State and became the first freshman to be hired as a math tutor at the Chico State Learning Center. He also attended the New York University Research Summer Program for Juniors, even though he was only a sophomore.

Vazquez completed Chico State’s Honors Program in General Education in just three years. He mentors freshman Hispanic students who are the first in their families to attend college within Chico State’s Engineering, Construction Management & Computer Science programs.

"Students like Rigoberto are the promise of a bright future and PG&E is proud to support our local communities by providing a path for talented and driven students to achieve their dreams of higher education. He has overcome many hardships to be here today, and I have no doubt that Rigoberto will soon be tackling some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time and making lasting impact.,” said Carl Schoenhofer, senior manager of PG&E’s North Valley Division.

"This STEM scholarship is so much more than a financial support, but rather a validation that hard work does pay off. Nonetheless, it represents my own struggles, sacrifices, and tenacity to overcome obstacles," said Vazquez.

Since the program’s inception in 2012, the PG&E Better Together Scholarship program has committed more than $4 million in scholarships to students throughout Northern and Central California. The PG&E Better Together Scholarship program is part of the company’s larger commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. PG&E has a long history of supporting local educational initiatives, providing nearly $80 million over the last decade.