Sunshine State Scholar

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 Erol Jullian Bahadiroglu of St. Augustine High School (SAHS). He is the son of Andrea and Frank Matzke, St. Augustine and Murat Alpman.

Erol is interested in pursuing a career in the nuclear field. He sees a need for a new generation of nuclear engineers who can master the power of the atom. Erol views nuclear science as a fascinating area of study and a tantalizing challenge. While he feels nuclear technology has an incredible potential to improve the world, there are still several obstacles to overcome. Erol hopes to develop new technologies to harness and use nuclear energy as an unlimited, nonpolluting power source in a way that is safe and practical.

Erol will represent St. Johns County at the annual Sunshine State Scholars event February 13-14 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. Erol will attend with his parents and Mr. Clark Johnston, a mathematics teacher at SAHS who he has chosen to accompany him.

As St. Johns County’s Sunshine State Scholar, Erol 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.

Charis Wang from Ponte Vedra High School was selected as the alternate and received a $75 scholarship.

The other school nominees received $50 scholarships. They are Sierra Marie Biastre from Bartram Trail High School, Hunter Clary from Creekside High School, Zacharias Anastasiadis from Allen D. Nease High School and Yohancie Blas from Pedro Menendez High School.