Florida’s top performing STEM students were recently recognized as Sunshine State Scholars and given the opportunity to attend a two-day event in Orlando, February 13th and 14th. It was an event that could possibly change the course of their future as they learned why Florida is the best place to learn and pursue an exciting career.
Each school district throughout Florida selected their top 11th grade student based on their academic achievement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). These students, along with their parents and a teacher chosen by each student, were invited to participate in the annual Sunshine State Scholars program.
The Sunshine State Scholars program is sponsored by the Florida Education Foundation, in collaboration with the State University System of Florida, the Florida College System, and the Florida Department of Education. It began in 1997 to recognize excellence in Mathematics and Science.
Among those being honored this year were 19 students from the small rural school districts participating in the FloridaLearns Stem Scholars Initiative for Gifted and Talented Students. In addition to recognizing their academic success, the Sunshine State Scholars program gave these STEM students the opportunity to meet directly with highly successful professionals from STEM-related industries in Florida, and with recruiters from Florida’s finest colleges and universities.
During the event, the students heard about special programs of study and industry internship opportunities, learned about some of the latest innovations and discoveries in STEM-related research, were inspired by personal success stories from leaders in Florida’s STEM industry, and were actively recruited to become part of Florida’s future talented workforce. The scholars also enjoyed meeting with students from around the state who had similar interests in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The following students currently enrolled in the FloridaLearns STEM Scholars Initiative that were honored as Sunshine State Scholars include:
- Blountstown High School: Donavan Ebersole
- Columbia County High School: Priyanka Patel
- DeSoto County High School: Eve Pence
- Franklin County High School: Chaseon Taranto
- East Gadsden High: Jewelisia Fagg
- Moore Haven Jr/Sr High: Bronson Bass
- Wewahitchka High: Justin Barrier
- Hardee Senior High: Allison Farr
- La Belle High: Magali Salinas
- Bethlehem High: Erin Dady
- Jefferson County High: Stefan Roberts
- Liberty County High: William Hosford
- Madison County High: Courtney Strickland
- Okeechobee High: Michael Daniel
- Palatka High: Carlie Dennard
- Taylor County High: Rohan Patel
- P.K. Yonge Development Research High: Abigail Austin
- South Walton High: Wes Fegely
- Vernon High: Sarah Boullard
Exciting futures are ahead for all of the STEM Scholars. Special congratulations go to those who were named as 2014 Sunshine State Scholars!