TALLAHASSEE — Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran recently recognized 103 of Florida’s highest-achieving 11th grade STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students at the 2019 Sunshine State Scholars conference. With a focus on Florida’s workforce needs, the conference highlights the wide variety of high-demand, high-wage STEM jobs available both today and in the future.

“Florida has the best higher education system in the nation bar none," Corcoran said. "Our state’s institutions offer high-quality instruction that will prepare these talented students to fill the workforce needs of our state’s growing economy. They will be at the forefront of solving some of the state’s most pressing issues, and it is an honor to recognize them. I hope that they will take advantage of the many academic and career opportunities available to them here in the Education State."

The two-day Sunshine State Scholars conference is designed to bring together Florida’s high-achieving scholars, connect them with employers from around the state that specialize in the STEM fields, and create a networking opportunity among the scholars, employers and Florida’s renowned state colleges and universities.

“These students were selected due to their enormous talent and potential, and I know they’ll continue to make us proud,” said Marshall Criser, State University System Chancellor. “Congratulations to all of our Sunshine State Scholars.”

During the Sunshine State Scholars conference, students will solve four real-life problems based on critical state and national issues. They will also have an opportunity to interact with higher education representatives during a recruitment fair and attend presentations by industry and research experts. The event concludes with an awards luncheon where each scholar is recognized individually for the potential they bring to our state and local communities.

Local students are Journey Washingtonhigh, Fort Walton Beach High School; Katelyn Gillert, Walton High School; Bickston Laenger, Gulf Breeze High School; Samuel Gia-An Doung, Pensacola High School; and Zander Evan Preston, West Florida High School of Advanced Technology.

For a complete list of scholars and more information about the event, visit www.fldoe.org/academics/sunscholars/.