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Florida Department of Education honors top STEM students

Seven Southwest Florida students were among the 37 Sunshine State Scholars for 2024 who received 1-year scholarships to attend Florida’s top-ranked higher education institutions.
2024 Sunshine State Scholars
Seven Southwest Florida students were among the 37 Sunshine State Scholars for 2024 who received 1-year scholarships to attend Florida’s top-ranked higher education institutions.

Over 100 scholars attended the 2024 Sunshine State Scholars Conference, with 37 students earning 1-year scholarships.

Seven students from Southwest Florida schools were among those recognized for academic excellence at the 27th annual Sunshine State Scholars conference in Orlando, spotlighting the state’s outstanding 11th-grade students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

With more than 111 student-scholars and their families in attendance, the two-day event, co-hosted by the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Education Foundation, celebrated the remarkable achievements of these young scholars. Notably, 37 students were awarded 1-year scholarships provided by State Farm and the Florida Prepaid College Foundation.

“The Sunshine State Scholars program recognizes Florida’s brightest STEM students and their outstanding achievements in STEM education,” said Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. “I extend my highest appreciation for their dedication and hard work, and I am hopeful these scholars will continue their postsecondary education in Florida and succeed throughout their academic journey.”

“State Farm is committed to helping nurture students’ creativity and sparking their imagination through STEM,” said State Farm Enterprise Technology Manager Kevin Reeves. “We encourage students to enter STEM fields and become lifelong learners, while simultaneously contributing to a dynamic global society.”

Selected by Florida school districts as the top 11th-grade STEM students, these scholars and their families participated in an exciting program designed to connect them with Florida’s postsecondary education institutions and STEM-focused employers.

This year, the scholars engaged in a dynamic “think tank,” tackling challenging Florida issues through problem-solving activities and expert presentations. Each scholar also received a new iPad courtesy of AT&T, and SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment generously provided tickets for a day of fun and leisure.

The 2024 Sunshine State Scholars also had the opportunity to interact with representatives from Florida’s premier higher education institutions, including the Florida University System, Florida College System and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida. These sessions covered topics such as college funding, interactive panel discussions with STEM professionals, and the multitude of educational opportunities available in Florida.

The Department congratulated each scholar during the event and presented 37 students with 1-year scholarships to attend Florida’s top-ranked higher education institutions. The 2024 Sunshine State Scholars scholarship winners from Southwest Florida schools are:

Ava Louise Hall, Charlotte

Casper Khan-Bridgers, Collier

Bailey Mathews, Collier

Enrique Acosta, Hendry

Ezekiel Dube-Garrett, Lee

Sophia Dupeyron, Lee

Ananya Kakayadi, Sarasota

The winners from schools elsewhere in Florida included:

Joyce Huang, Alachua

Ava Rose Manalo, Baker

Nivaiah Foster, Bradford

Aneesha Guna, Brevard

Krisztina Tolotti, Broward

Joshua Martin Sevilla, Citrus

Sophia Lin, Duval

McClain Marie Stroud, FAMU Lab School

Angelina Manjarres, Flagler

Keegan Flury, FSU Lab School

Jordan C. Pippin, Gulf

Katelyn Carlsen, Hernando

Miyaz Ansari, Hillsborough

James Watt, Hillsborough

Juliette Shuler, Liberty

Sheena Kurakula, Manatee

Maia D. Gueron, Miami-Dade

Katerina Kring, Orange

Jennifer Han, Palm Beach

Diana Bisekeeva, Pasco

Karolina Porcelli, Pasco

Sahil Ande, Polk

Madalene Grace Hodge, Putnam

Caden Walker Crow, Santa Rosa

Josephine Danielle Lim, Seminole

Daniel Benton, St. Johns

Herlandy Marcelin, St. Lucie

Lily Marie-Pinder Caldwell, UF Lab School

Noah Isaacson, Volusia

Genna Dietrich, Wakulla

The 2024 Sunshine State Scholars conference was made possible through the support of the Florida Education Foundation and generous sponsors, including State Farm, Florida Prepaid College Foundation, AT&T, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment, Florida Lottery, Kyra Solutions, Helios Education Foundation, TECO, Limitless Solutions and School Choice.

For further information about the Sunshine State Scholars program and the 2024 conference, visit floridaeducationfoundation.com.

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Copyright 2024 WGCU

WGCU Staff
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