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Press Release

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Data Reveals New Trend Among State's Top STEM Scholars

- More than half of Sunshine State Scholars pursuing higher education in Florida -

Tallahassee, Fla., October 24, 2012 - In recent years, the Sunshine State Scholars program has evolved from a recognition-based ceremony to an event that persuades top students to continue their higher education at Florida's universities and colleges. The result is that more talented students are staying in Florida and contributing to our workforce.

A survey of 2011 program scholars reveals that the majority of Florida's brightest STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students chose post-secondary institutions in Florida, despite being courted by a number of Ivy League schools.

Sponsored by the Florida Education Foundation, the Sunshine State Scholars program brings top-performing, STEM-focused students from each school district together with representatives from Florida universities' and colleges' most prestigious programs. Many students learn of specialized programs, scholarships, and internships during the two-day event, reinforcing their decision to stay in Florida.

"When these students stay in Florida and go to our colleges and universities, they improve the quality of the student body, of the research, and of the programs offered," said Florida Education Foundation Executive Director Mary Lee Kiracofe. "And, that in turn translates to a stronger workforce."

During the annual conference, students, parents, and teachers participate in informative workshops and presentations. Teachers are encouraged to take information from participating post-secondary institutions back to other STEM-focused students in their classrooms. Representatives from more than 40 educational institutions share their organizations' recent research and discoveries in efforts to attract students.

"It was amazing just to hear all the different speakers about how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are going to become such a growing and expanding field in our state," said 2012 scholar Rumya Raghavan. To hear more from 2012 Sunshine State Scholars, watch this video.

The 2013 Sunshine State Scholars Program will take place February 21-22 in Orlando. Interested students should contact their school's math and science teachers for more information. The deadline for districts to nominate students is November 2, 2012.

Survey Results (PDF, 76KB)