Faculty as Recruiters

If you were a high school student, who else would you want to recruit you to go to their school other than scientists and engineers who do really cool things?  Recently, USF faculty joined admissions to attend the 2013 Sunshine State Scholars Program in Orlando. This event gathered Florida’s top 11th graders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to be recognized and introduced to the postsecondary and career opportunities available in the state.

“The commitment of the Sunshine State Scholars program to expose the best and brightest students to the wonders of research across many of the SUS institutions is a great concept,” said Rick Pollenz, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Director, Office for Undergraduate Research who attended to promote the idea of undergrad research to attendees.  "It was wonderful to be able to highlight the academic impact of USF and its commitment to research at the undergraduate level to prospective students, their parents and teachers.  The questions offered by each of the participants are a very encouraging sign that students will engage in high impact areas such as research when they enter USF as freshman."

In the past, many of these top STEM students left the state for their post- secondary education. The two-day program, sponsored by the Florida Education Foundation, evolved to help stop the flow of intellectual talent from attending college outside of the state.
Luther Palmer, Assistant Professor, Computer Science & Engineering brought in his hexapod walking robot for students to observe. "We were in the room with some of the brightest students in our state, and it was good for these talented students to see some of the high quality research being done at our university.  Not only were the students interested in talking with us, but parents and high school educators from across the state learned that USF can be a great launching pad toward success in many of the science and technical fields."

More than half of the 2011 Sunshine State Scholars said they would be attending college in Florida.  In the past, most of this group went to schools outside of Florida, including Ivy League schools.

"This was a fantastic event that provided unique and meaningful interaction with the states brightest STEM high school students. It was gratifying to be able to engage so directly with such young, talented and inquisitive minds; and to be able to showcase the cutting edge research performed at USF," said Lindsey N. "Les" Shaw, Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology. "I believe that they all came away deeply impressed with the research infrastructure, and STEM opportunities available on our campus. I found it to be both personally and professionally rewarding, and I look forward to interacting with these students in a research setting as they enroll at USF."