Two students will represent Polk County at the annual State STEM Recognition and Recruiting Conference to be held next year in Orlando.
Kristianna Nicolai of Winter Haven Senior High and Divya Ravinder of the International Baccalaureate School at Bartow Senior High have been named this year’s Sunshine State Scholars from Polk County.
Each year, approximately 100 students from across the state are named Sunshine State Scholars. These students possess excellent academic records, and wish to pursue careers and educational opportunities in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The Florida Education Foundation oversees the Sunshine State Scholars Program. The goal is to positively impact the state’s economy by encouraging participants to remain in Florida for their post-secondary education and professional careers.
In February, Kristianna and Divya will join other Sunshine State Scholars from across the state for a two-day program in Orlando. They will be able to interact with industry leaders, and talk with representatives from Florida’s colleges and universities. Workshops will also be held to discuss the latest innovations and discoveries in the STEM industry.
Each year, Polk County is permitted to select two students to receive the recognition of Sunshine State Scholar at the state level. High Schools in Polk County first select one outstanding junior in the areas of STEM education to be a district finalist. These finalists then submit an essay with their thoughts about the greatest challenges facing America in the areas of STEM and how they plan to address these issues in the future. A committee of district curriculum specialists reviews the essays to determine the two Sunshine State Scholars.