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Media Advisory

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

North Florida's Top Stem Scholars to be Honored in Orlando

North Florida's highest achieving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students will join their peers from around the state Thursday and Friday in Orlando to be honored during the 2012 Sunshine State Scholars program. The two-day awards and recruitment event celebrates the accomplishments of these elite students and provides a unique opportunity for Florida's colleges and universities to recruit their talents.

The Scholars event started as a simple science and math competition in 1997 and has evolved into a program designed to recognize Florida's top high school STEM students and recruit them to pursue their post secondary education in Florida - increasing the likelihood that they will join Florida's future workforce. Each school district selects and names one 11th grade scholar based on established criteria.

The program will begin on Thursday evening with a welcome reception and continues on Friday with a breakfast, recruitment fair and workshops where students can talk with officials representing more than 40 public and private higher education institutions about the opportunities that are available at Florida's colleges and universities. The event concludes with an award luncheon.

The event will take place at

Doubletree Hotel at Entrance to Universal Orlando
5780 Major Blvd.

Thursday, Feb. 16
Welcome Reception

6:00 p.m.
Gerard Robinson, Florida Education Commissioner
Frank Brogan, Chancellor, State University System of Florida
Stacy Carlson, Vice President and Director, Helios Education Foundation

Friday, Feb. 17
8:00 a.m.

Jennifer Grove, Workforce Development Coordinator, Gulf Power
Dr. Jimmie L. Davis, Jr., President, STEMflorida

Recruitment Fair, Concurrent Exhibits and Workshops
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Awards Luncheon
12:00 p.m.

Roberto Martinez, Vice Chair, Florida State Board of Education
Pam Stewart, Chancellor, K-12 Public Schools
Rosemary Woods, Vice President of Transportation, Atkins
Stephen K. Klasko, M.D., CEO, USF Health, and Dean, Morsani College of Medicine

The Sunshine State Scholars program is a collaborative effort between the Florida Education Foundation, the Division of Florida Colleges, the State University System and the Florida Department of Education. Event sponsors of this year's program include the Helios Education Foundation, Atkins, Universal Orlando Resort, Gulf Power, Florida Trend Magazine, and the Florida Lottery.

A list of the Sunshine State Scholars from North Florida is below.

North Florida
District Student School
Alachua Yi Zeng Buchholz High School
Baker Reagan McKendree Baker County High School
Bradford Dustin Swain Bradford High School
Clay Bailey Anderson Ridgeview High School
Columbia Hayley Lewis Columbia High School
Dixie Amanda Weaver Dixie County High School
Duval Haya Kaseer Atlantic Coast High School
Duval Rashid Alrashid Terry Parker High School
Flagler Cheyenna Espinoza Matanzas High School
Gilchrist Amanda Dennis Bell High School
Hamilton Hetal Thakor Hamilton County High School
Lafayette Trevor Swafford Lafayette High School
Levy Quincy Cason Williston High School
Marion Alice Cannon Forest High School
Nassau Michael Pietrusiak Yulee High School
Putnam Martin Matthew Plumley Palatka High School
St. Johns Caroline Snowden Ponte Vedra High School
Suwannee Charles Allen Peaden Suwannee High School
University of Florida Eva Aranda PK Yonge Developmental Research School
Union Dana Seager Union County High School
Volusia Rumya Raghavan Spruce Creek High School

For more information about the Sunshine State Scholars program, visit