Florida State University

College of Social Sciences & Public Policy

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Presidential Scholars Reflect the Best of FSU, COSSPP

August 29, 2017

by Amy Farnum-Patronis, FSU Communications; additional material by Rob Nixon, COSSPP Communications Director

Four years ago, Florida State University launched a premier merit scholarship program with the mission of investing in students who have extraordinary potential to be transformational leaders of their generation.

The first cohort of 25 Presidential Scholars arrived on campus in 2014 and hit the ground running, immersing themselves in all FSU has to offer. Now, as the program welcomes its fourth class, it is operating at full capacity for the first time with 100 scholars.

Of the 25 students accepted into the program in fall 2017 semester, seven have majors in the college. Of the total 100 scholars, 27 now have at least one major in the college with one additional student minoring in one of the college’s disciplines.*

“It’s been amazing to watch the program grow as the scholars have grown,” said Craig Filar, associate dean of Undergraduate Studies and program director of the Presidential Scholars program. “What started out as an idea to create an impactful and nurturing environment for some of our brightest students has grown into a family of young scholars with a great desire to make an impact on our campus and in our community.”

FSU received more than 2,000 applications for the 25 spots in this year’s cohort. It’s easy to guess why applications for the highly competitive scholarship have increased each year.

In addition to a generous award package for tuition, the program provides $12,000 for educational enrichment opportunities including international experiences, research and creative projects, service learning projects, internships and entrepreneurial development.

Members of the first Presidential Scholars’ cohort have made the most of these opportunities, whether it is traveling abroad, working with faculty through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) or creating outreach initiatives like the Power of We and the Academic Recruitment Organization (ARO).

“When I was applying to colleges, I was looking at small liberal arts schools,” said Giovanna Garcia, a pre-International Affairs major and part of this fall’s cohort of 25 scholars. “In Florida, we don’t really have those — they are mostly big state schools. The Honors Program and Presidential Scholars program provides a small community that is like a small liberal arts school within a larger state university. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Filar is thrilled to have a fully fleshed out program. He is especially grateful to Linda (B.S. ’65, English) and Phil Lewis, the donors who made the program possible.

“The scholars have proven to be some of the strongest ambassadors for the academic leadership and service communities we have here at Florida State University, and it is being noticed around the country,” Filar said.

For more information about the Presidential Scholars Program, visit this link.

* COSSPP Presidential Scholars
Sabrina Abboud – Major: International Affairs
Dillon Bezehertny – Major: Pre-Political Science
Laura Blank – Minor: Economics
Simone Burgin – Major: NFA-Economics
Travis Burhart – Major: Environment & Society, Geography; Minor: Urban and Regional Planning
Shayna Cohen – Major: Criminology and Economics
Taegan Dennis – Major: International Affairs, Anthropology, Spanish; Minor: Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Mae Espinosa – Major: Political Science and English Literature
Giovanna Garcia – Major: Pre-International Affairs
Nicholas Hearing – Major: Pre-International Affairs
Julia Jensen – Major: Political Science
Justin Krumper – Major: Finance and International Affairs
Samantha Kunin – Major: Economics
Allison Lang – Major: Political Science and International Affairs
Jaime Lopez – Major: International Affairs, Economics
Olivia McConnell – Major: International Affairs and Economics
Mallory McGovern – Major: International Affairs
Kimberlee McMillin – Major: Political Science and Sociology
Christina Portuallo – Major: Pre-Political Science
Sophie Rottenberg – Major: Biology and International Affairs
Inam Sakinah – Major: Biology and Interdisciplinary Social Science
Amanda Schell – Major: Statistics and International Affairs; Minor: Economics, Urban and Regional Planning, and Math
Tatum Shannon – Major: International Affairs and Chinese
Brent Shepherd – Major: Pre-Political Science
Jordan Singletary – Major: International Affairs and Environmental Science
Leah Singleton – Major: International Affairs, Psychology
Carolyn Sizemore – Major: Pre-Political Science
Austin Westergom – Major: Economics