On Thursday, May 19, Sarah Kauffman, a rising senior at Madison County High School, represented Madison County at the annual Sunshine State Scholar Conference. Sunshine State Scholars represent the future of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for their respective counties. Kauffman was nominated by her guidance counselor, Reese Fletcher, based on her academic and extracurricular aptitude, as well as her interest in the field of biomedical engineering. Kauffman will graduate high school in 2017 with her AA through dual enrollment at North Florida Community College. She plays tennis, is involved with SSTRIDE through the FSU College of Medicine, serves as Beta Club Treasurer, is reigning Miss Madison County, and is an active volunteer at Madison County Memorial Hospital.
The 67 scholars at the conference, representing Florida's 67 counties, attended a dinner, where they met representatives from many of Florida's community colleges and universities, participated in specialized workshops, interacted with a panel of speakers, and listened to main speaker, Albert Manero. Manero, a graduate of the University of Central Florida, is the founder of the nonprofit organization, Limbitless. Limbitless' mission is to provide access to prosthetics for children around the world. Kauffman, who is interested in designing prosthetics and machines for non-invasive surgery, plans to volunteer with Limbitless this summer. Additionally, Kauffman and the other scholars were each awarded a plaque honoring their achievement, an iPad Mini and tickets to the Blue Man Crew and Universal Studios.