"Big Bang" Scholars


By Cameron Vernali '20

Published Nov 2, 2017 9:00 AM

Five students receive these scholarships annually, thanks to the show's cast and crew.

Jim Parsons and UCLA alumna Mayim Bialik are among the cast, crew and executives funding a scholarship for students in science, technology, engineering and math. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

This fall, five UCLA freshmen were chosen to receive the Big Bang Theory Scholarship, which provides need-based financial aid to students who have earned admission to UCLA but need additional support. The scholarship, named for the television show, began in 2015 with an initial donation from the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation and gifts from nearly 50 people associated with the show. These included the lead actors and actresses, as well as cast members, executive producers and corporate sponsors.

On October 5, the five students visited the set of The Big Bang Theory to thank the cast and crew and others who contributed to the scholarship.

The scholarship recipients are pursuing degrees in technology, mathematics, science and engineering. The students are Darren Ait Kaci Azzou, a biophysics major; Janice Cheng, a bioengineering major; Steve Lopez, a mechanical engineering major; Andy Muratalla, a chemical engineering major; and Khang Vinh, a computer science and engineering major.

Azzou says she chose UCLA because of the scholarship. “I was already considering, but this scholarship reinforced it."

UCLA and The Big Bang Theory have a longstanding connection. Mayim Bialik, who portrays Amy Farrah Fowler on the sitcom, earned a doctorate in neuroscience, as well as a bachelor’s degree from UCLA. And David Saltzberg, a UCLA professor of physics and astronomy, has been the show’s science consultant since its creation.

When the students visited the set, Bialik joined them in an eight-clap to show their Bruin pride.

To view the original article from the UCLA Newsroom, visit https://ucla.in/2wCq75i.