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18 North Florida Students Get State Recognition For STEM Excellence

Michael Collins

The Florida Department of Education is honoring 80 students for their excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and 18 of them are from North Florida.

Clay County Ridgeview High student Evan Collins, 17, was among those selected to attend a two-day conference in Orlando, beginning Saturday.

“I’m just incredibly humbled and incredibly gracious to represent my county and my district,” he said.

Collins is the president of Ridgeview’s Science National Honors Society, a robotics team officer and he’s won an award from Intel for one of his science projects. The objective of his project was to figure out which computer graphics cards had the best value for their performance.  

MORE | A complete list of North Florida Sunshine State Scholars

“(I did) an economic analysis in addition to an objective performance assessment of discrete graphics cards in the market today,” he said.

Although Collins has a passion for computers, he said he’s also interested in medicine.

“The fields of STEM is something that has always interested me,” Collins said. “I’ll probably pursue something in neurobiology when I get older, looking into discovering cures for neurodegenerative diseases such as alzheimer's.

This weekend, the teens will hear from a variety of speakers ranging from Microsoft representatives, to a theme park developer. And they get to attend workshops tackling subjects like how to succeed in college.

“(At the conference), I’m particularly interested in discussing with the University of Florida some of the internship opportunities they offer and whether or not I qualify,” Collins said.

Collins is in the rigorous International Baccalaureate program at his school and said he’d like to apply tor some ivy league colleges in addition to in-state schools.

Reporter Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.

Lindsey Kilbride was WJCT's special projects producer until Aug. 28, 2020. She reported, hosted and produced podcasts like Odd Ball, for which she was honored with a statewide award from the Associated Press, as well as What It's Like. She also produced VOIDCAST, hosted by Void magazine's Matt Shaw, and the ADAPT podcast, hosted by WJCT's Brendan Rivers.