Putting Education Reform To The Test

More Sunshine State Scholars Are Staying In Florida


Gov. Scott hopes these kids are future STEM graduates.

The push for more STEM-related degrees in Florida may be paying off.

In a survey, more than half of Florida’s 2011 Sunshine State Scholars said they plan to pursue higher education degrees in-state, rejecting the opportunity to attend Ivy League schools.

Gov. Rick Scott has said Florida needs more graduates in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

He said a highly trained workforce will lure high-tech companies to the state, resulting in high-wage jobs.

The Scholars program, sponsored by the Florida Education Foundation, recognizes the top 11th grader from each school district based on certain academic criteria.

The winners are considered the state’s top STEM students.

The Florida Department of Education says the goal is to match top-performing, STEM-focused students with representatives from the state’s most prestigious post-secondary programs.

A new round of winners will be recognized in Orlando early next year. Along with parents and teachers, they will learn about specialized programs, scholarships, and internships that organizers hope will convince them to stay in Florida.

The winners will spend two days:

  • Being recognized for their achievements.
  • Meeting STEM industry leaders and learning about the latest opportunities in Florida.
  • Meeting with representatives from Florida colleges and universities about special programs of study and internships.
  • Hearing personal success stories from leaders in Florida’s STEM industry.

“When these students stay in Florida and go to our colleges and universities, they improve the quality of the student body, the research, and the programs offered,” Florida Education Foundation Executive Director Mary Lee Kiracofe said.

“That in turn translates to a stronger workforce.”


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