About Sunshine State Scholars

The Sunshine State Scholars program began in 1997, and was designed to recognize students, teachers and schools that achieved excellence in mathematics and science. High school seniors participated in a statewide competition that used their basic knowledge of mathematics, statistics, physics, chemistry
and biology to solve interdisciplinary problems requiring independent and creative thinking. Students competed and were recognized at district and regional levels. The ten Regional Scholars completed a challenging written exam and presented a research paper on a single topic, and from this group, a Statewide Scholar was named. The Regional Scholars and the Statewide Scholar were recognized at a ceremony where each Scholar formally paid tribute to his/her outstanding teacher.

Mathematics and science experts from education, business and government served on the all-volunteer steering committee, overseeing the development of the assessment tools and monitoring and executing the competitions. For many years, Dr. William H. Caldwell from the Florida Institute of Education at the University of North Florida was the driving force and inspiration behind Sunshine State Scholars. Dr. Caldwell worked diligently to secure annual funding. When other sources were no longer available, Senator Stephen R. Wise, Education Commissioner Eric J. Smith, and the Florida Education Foundation championed the program, continuing its service and recognizing our best and brightest.

Today the program has evolved from its original format. Each school district throughout Florida selects its top 11th grade student(s) in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEM) based on established criteria. These Scholars, along with their parents convene to receive recognition for their achievements. They also have opportunities to meet with representatives from Florida’s colleges and universities, learn about STEAMrelated programs of study and internships and experience why Florida is the best state to learn and pursue an exciting career.

The Sunshine State Scholars program is a collaboration among the Florida Department of Education, the Florida Education Foundation and the State University System of Florida.



2024 Sunshine State Scholars

2023 Sunshine State Scholars

2022 Sunshine State Scholars

2021 Sunshine State Scholars

2020 Sunshine State Scholars

2019 Sunshine State Scholars

2018 Sunshine State Scholars

2017 Sunshine State Scholars

2016 Sunshine State Scholars

2015 Sunshine State Scholars

2014 Sunshine State Scholars

2013 Sunshine State Scholars

2012 Sunshine State Scholars

2011 Sunshine State Scholars