The Big Bang Theory Scholarships:
Per May 28, 2015, announcement: Showrunner Chuck Lorre (Mom, Two and a Half Men, Mike & Molly) revealed that he plans on taking the award-winning program’s scientific slant from fiction to reality. Starting this week, The Big Bang Theory and The Chuck Lorre Family Foundation have established The Big Bang Theory Scholarship Endowment—valued at $4 million dollars.
The endowment will go directly to 20 low-income students entering the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields at UCLA this year and then benefit five new students each academic year in perpetuity. The inaugural class will be announced this fall at the show’s set in Burbank, CA with cast and crew in attendance. “We have all been given a gift with The Big Bang Theory, a show that’s not only based in the scientific community, but also enthusiastically supported by that same community – this is our opportunity to give back,” Lorre said in a statement. “In that spirit, our Big Bang family has made a meaningful contribution, and together, we’ll share in the support of these future scholars, scientists and leaders.”
Contributors to the scholarship include stars Jim Parsons (Sheldon), Johnny Galecki (Leonard), Kaley Cuoco (Penny), Simon Helberg (Howard), Kunal Nayyar (Raj), Mayim Bialik (Amy), and Melissa Rauch (Bernadette). They’re joined by executive producers Chuck Lorre, Bill Prady, and Steven Molaro as well as crew members and other people in the entertainment industry.
2015-16 Scholarship Honorees:
- Thanks to the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation plus cast and crew of The Big Bang Theory, twenty (20) Big Bang Theory scholars have been selected for the 2015–16 academic year to receive financial assistance, with an additional five scholars to be added in each future academic year — in perpetuity. The Big Bang Theory Scholarships is awarded based on financial need to low-income students who have earned admission to UCLA on their own academic merit but need additional support to bridge the gap between typical levels of financial aid and the cost of attendance.
- For the 2015-16 academic year, there are seven female and 13 male Big Bang Theory scholars pursuing degrees in a wide variety of majors, including physics; astrophysics; chemistry; applied mathematics; biology; marine biology; molecular, cell and developmental biology; integrative biology and physiology; bioengineering; neuroscience; computer science; aerospace engineering; chemical engineering; civil engineering; electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.
- The "Big Bang Theory Scholars," were brought to the set of the show at Warner Bros. Studios this week, where they met with the stars and producers of the show and were awarded their scholarships.
Five UCLA students (front row from left) are this year’s “Big Bang” scholars: Mia Shannon Reyes, Steven La, Amy Shao, Jonathan Shi Jr., and Mateen Ul Hassan. Around them are some of the cast, crew, producers and writers of “The Big Bang Theory.”
“Did that just happen?”
"As five UCLA freshmen settled onto a bus Thursday that would return them to campus after an on-set visit with the cast, crew, producers and writers of “The Big Bang Theory” at the Warner Bros. backlot, they bubbled over in amazement.
“Mayim Bialik is so nice. She’s so cute. She’s a neuroscientist!”
“I just shook Johnny Galecki’s hand — the guy who has been inspiring me since seventh grade!”
The exuberant freshmen were the latest recipients of scholarships to UCLA from the Big Bang Theory Scholarship Endowment, now in its second year of supporting low-income students who are pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. They are Mia Shannon Reyes, majoring in aerospace engineering; Mateen Ul Hassan, a physics major; Steven La, a math major; Amy Shao, a neuroscience major like Bialik; and Jonathan Shi Jr., majoring in pre-microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics.
Now in its 10th season, the popular sitcom follows the lives of young academic researchers who work in various scientific fields. The endowment has already raised more than $4 million, with an initial donation from the Chuck Lorre Family Foundation and gifts from nearly 50 people associated with the show. Donations came from all the lead actors, including Bialik, who earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA; Johnny Galecki; Jim Parsons; Kaley Cuoco; Simon Helberg; Kunal Nayyar; and Melissa Rauch. Gifts also came from executive producers Bill Prady and Steven Molaro, crew members, Warner Bros. Television, CBS, other corporate partners and UCLA physics professor David Saltzberg, the show’s science consultant since its inception.
Dozens of the “Big Bang” donors were on hand Thursday with glasses of sparkling apple cider to celebrate the five newest UCLA Big Bang Theory scholars at an on-set reception. The students’ eyes widened as Chuck Lorre, the show’s executive producer and creator, surprised them with boxes wrapped in big red bows.