The Sunshine State Scholars Recognition Program for high school students was initiated in 1997 to recognize excellence in mathematics and science. It has evolved into a program designed to recognize Florida’s top high school science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students and recruit them to pursue their postsecondary education in Florida. This year’s St. Johns County recipient is Marissa Elizabeth Rice of Ponte Vedra High School (PVHS). She is the daughter of Michael and Patricia Rice.
Marissa plans to pursue a career in science and says that long hours spent sitting in a lab running test after test is where she wants to be. Her goal is to attend Johns Hopkins University and major in immunology, virology, biochemistry or oncology. She was named PVHS Best Biotech student in 2010 and 2011, earned an AP Scholar award in 2010 and was the first place regional science fair winner in 2011-2012.
Marissa will represent St. Johns County at the annual Sunshine State Scholars event February 21-22 in Orlando, which recognizes the best and brightest STEM students. These scholars will meet with representatives from Florida’s colleges, universities and STEM industry leaders, and will learn about STEM research initiatives, degree programs and internships. Marissa will attend with her parents and Dr. Kathryn Kehoe, a teacher at PVHS who she has chosen to accompany her for his influence in her academic career.
As St. Johns County’s Sunshine State Scholar, Marissa is the recipient of the annual Elaine Crutchfield Math and Science Scholarship of $100. Elaine Crutchfield worked for the school district for 29 years, serving as both a math and science teacher before being named the district curriculum coordinator.
In recognition of Ms. Crutchfield’s contributions to math and science education, the Curriculum Department created a special scholarship fund with the St. Johns County Education Foundation in her honor. It was decided that the Elaine Crutchfield Math and Science Scholarship would be presented annually to the district’s Sunshine State Math and Science Scholar.
Maxwell Alexander Kline from St. Augustine High School was selected as the alternate and received a $75 scholarship.
The other school nominees received $50 scholarships. They are Liam Leahy from Bartram Trail High School, Nicholas Pinelli from Creekside High School, Matthew Capriotti from Nease High School, and Anissa Zacharias from Pedro Menendez High School.