Announcement of the Class of 2023 Lombardi & Stamps Scholars
The University of Florida has named eight Florida high school seniors to the Lombardi Scholars Program and three to the Stamps Scholars Program.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Honors Program at the University of Florida is pleased to announce its Lombardi and Stamps Scholars for the Class of 2023. The John V. Lombardi Scholarship was established in 2002 to honor Dr. Lombardi, one of the University of Florida’s most charismatic and popular presidents whose visionary leadership and indomitable spirit played a significant role in the University’s ascension to the top tier of public research universities. The University of Florida partners with the Stamps Scholars Program to award multi-year scholarships to help driven and talented student leaders achieve their educational and personal goals--Stamps Scholars join a community of 1.370+ current and graduate Scholars around the world with whom they network and share their experiences. Lombardi & Stamps Scholars come together often throughout the academic year at formal and informal Scholar events, including welcome and graduation receptions as well as summer enrichment programs. This year’s Lombardi Scholars are Caroline Davidson (Ponta Vedra High School in Ponta Vedra Beach, Florida), Ann Marie Derias (Vanguard High School in Ocala, Florida), Jacob Ferris (Pensacola High School in Pensacola, Florida), Paul Leon (Pasco High School in Dade City, FL), Kimberly Mace (Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach, Florida), Brody Mandelbaum (Fernandina Beach High School in Fernandina Beach, Florida), Nicholas Mesa (Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami, Florida), and Grace Parker (Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Florida). This year’s Stamps Scholars are Shruti Labh (Lyman High School in Longwood, Florida), Cassidy O’Neill (Gainesville High School in Gainesville, Florida), and Chase Whitfield (Harmony High School in Harmony, Florida).
Caroline Davidson recently graduated from Ponta Vedra High School in Ponta Vedra Beach, Florida. She has been recognized as a National AP Scholar, Gold Presidential Volunteer Service Award Recipient, and Yale Book Award Scholar. She was the founder and president of GEMS- Girls Empowered by Math & Science, a program that addresses the barriers minority women face in STEM-based careers by introducing young girls to science projects and STEM female mentors. Caroline received the “Teens in Action” scholarship at Miss Florida’s Outstanding Teen for her work spreading GEMS through the MAYO Clinic, Girls Inc., NASA’s YoGA Board and the official Girls in STEM Blog. She is a ten-year National Federation of Music pianist and was the President of the St. Johns NFMC Youth Council, the choreography and competition officer for her school’s dance team, and a six-year member of the elite Atlantic Coast Dance Studio company team. She has also served as PVHS’s freshman council member, sophomore class secretary, junior class president, and district SAC board member. Caroline is a UF Undergraduate Research Scholar and plans to pursue a degree in neuroscience with a minor in nutrition.
Ann Marie Derias is a recent graduate from the IB Program at Vanguard High School in Ocala, Florida where she served as Student Body President. An IB Ambassador, she mentored underclassmen and received the AP Scholar with Distinction Award. Ann was President of Debate Club, competed in the Florida Forensics Speech and Debate Competition, and was named Marion County Great Debate Competition Champion. She enjoys engaging in her community through her involvement in Youth United Way and as Treasurer of its Executive Board. Her leadership experience also includes serving as a Student Regent on the Marion County Chambers and Economic Partners Board as part of the Leadership Ocala/Marion Youth program, and Vanguard High School’s representative at the HOBY Leadership Seminar where she received the HOBY Presidential Volunteer Service Award. As an Egyptian-American and a Coptic Orthodox Christian, Ann frequently visits Egypt and volunteers at the Suez Christian Orphanage. In her spare time, she engages in activities that are important to her, including being a part of the Varsity Soccer team and expressing her creativity through music by playing piano, singing, and writing spoken word poetry. She plans to major in psychology and complete the Music in Medicine Certificate at the University of Florida.
Jacob Ferris is a recent graduate from Pensacola High School’s International Baccalaureate Program in Pensacola, Florida. An AP Scholar with Distinction and a National Merit Commended Scholar, Jacob enjoys athletics and was Varsity captain of both the swim and soccer teams. His achievements in soccer were recognized through MVP and Players’ Choice awards and selection to the regional All-Star team where he was honored as a Scholar Athlete. Jacob was Treasurer for the National Honor Society (NHS) and an active member in other honor societies and clubs at his school. After many years as a Boy Scout, he earned the highest level possible, becoming an Eagle Scout. His active outdoor lifestyle has made him environmentally conscious; he started his own non-profit organization, Gulf Coast Environmental Coalition, to encourage young adults in his community to become more involved in the environment. The coalition has removed over 1,900 pounds of trash and 1.5 miles of monofilament fishing line from the environment, and regularly conduct educational talks to local student groups. Jacob is looking forward to studying environmental science at the University of Florida.
Paul Leon is a recent graduate from the Cambridge Program at Pasco High School in Dade City, FL where he served as the Student Council Executive Board President. Paul has been awarded the Cambridge Diploma with Merit and earned the “Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards USA 2018” accolade. He also served as the Vice President of the Cambridge Ambassadors, actively participated in other school clubs, was a member of the Varsity Basketball Team, and captain of the Varsity Swim Team. An active member in his community, Paul serves as the Vice Chairman of the Dade City Mayor’s Youth Council, represented Dade City at the Florida League of Cities Conference, and has earned the Anne Frank Humanitarian Award. He represented his school at the Hugh O’Brien Leadership Seminar, the Pasco County Student Leadership Congress, and State Competition for Future Business Leaders of America. Paul plans to major in mechanical engineering with a minor in business and pursue research in alternative energy.
Kimberly Mace is a National Merit Finalist, AP Scholar with Distinction, and a recent graduate from the International Baccalaureate Math, Science, and Engineering programs at Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach, Florida. During her time in high school, she served as the president and founder of a 4H Chapter, secretary of the school’s UNICEFclub (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), and a Key Club member who organized a recycling program. She also represented her school’s board at the statewide District Education and Leadership Conference. Kimberly spent three semesters in the Florida Atlantic University Pine Jog Fellowship, a service-learning internship focused on environmental education and stewardship; as a result of this experience, she implemented native plant landscaping in her school’s courtyard, and founded an Earth Club and composting program at a local Title I elementary school. Kimberly also serves as a leader on annual mission trips and six-week youth ministry training programs in her church. To support her goals of developing economically and environmentally sustainable housing and creating environmental mentorship programs for youth in urban areas, she plans to major in architecture and minor in Spanish.
Brody Mandelbaum is a recent graduate from Fernandina Beach High School in Fernandina Beach, Florida where his main involvements were centered around the Future Business Leaders of America, the largest business-oriented student organization in the world. On the national level, Brody served as the National Director of Financial Education, developing the financial literacy curriculum for the more than 250,000 members in the organization. Brody chose to serve in this position because of his strong belief that financial literacy can be the key to breaking the socioeconomic cycles of poverty. On the state level, he served as an elected Florida State Vice President and assisted in managing the second largest state in FBLA. Beyond FBLA, Brody is an avid traveler and has been to 49 US States and 13 Canadian Provinces & Territories. This year he spent spring break in Cuba where he worked to aid the local community and economy; as part of his travels, he stayed with local families, donated time and supplies to communities in need, and visited the Universidad de La Habana where he met with finance students to better understand the Cuban economic system and its respective microeconomies. Brody plans to major in finance and public policy with a minor in sustainability.
Nicholas Mesa is a National Hispanic Scholar and AP Scholar with Distinction who recently graduated from Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami, Florida. Nicholas served as president of the NAF Distinguished Coral Reef Academy of Finance and its National Business Honor Society, spearheading financial literacy throughout his school while initiating year-round community service projects. In addition, he served as the Executive Vice President of the nation’s second largest Future Business Leaders of America chapter, competing at the district and state level. One of his projects, a partnership with the Miami Book Fair, resulted in the collection of an estimated 3,000 books for at-risk children in the community and led to his nomination for the prestigious Miami Herald Silver Knight Award. Out of the classroom, Nicholas completed an eight-week summer internship at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and served on the Miami Dade County Youth Commission. Nicholas plans to study international relations and political science with the aspiration of entering the field of domestic and international politics.
Grace Parker is a recent graduate from Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Florida where she served as the Senior Class Secretary, Captain of the Color Guard, and Band Captain. Grace received her Cambridge AICE Diploma with Distinction and ran on the varsity Cross Country team her senior year. Training for five years as a competitive rock climber, she qualified for and competed in the Youth Sport Nationals in 2016 and 2017. Grace is also the president and co-founder of a non-profit organization called Take Hold which uses rock climbing as a vehicle to strengthen the physical and cognitive capabilities of adolescents with disabilities, and encourage socialization in a safe setting. Grace attended the Best Buddies Leadership Conference in the summer of 2018 and helped oversee the Eau Gallie High School Best Buddies chapter as its Vice President. Aspiring to attend medical school and become a psychiatrist, Grace plans to major in psychology and pursue experiences in researching autism at UF.
Shruti Labh is a recent graduate from Lyman High School in Longwood, Florida where she served as president of Girls Who Code and CyberPatriot. She is also a two-time world finalist for both the Odyssey of the Mind and FIRST Robotics competitions. Last summer she participated in a summer program where she conducted quantum mechanics research. In her leisure time, she enjoys playing the flute. Shruti plans to pursue her interests in physics and computer science and a minor in music performance at the University of Florida.
Cassidy O’Neill is a recent graduate from the Cambridge program at Gainesville High School in Gainesville, Florida, where she played varsity volleyball, represented her school in musical theatre at the state level, and was named a National Merit Commended and AP Scholar. A fluent Spanish speaker, she served as the regional recruiter and group leader for AYUDA, a youth-led non-profit organization that provides education for children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes in the Dominican Republic. O’Neill earned the Presidential Service Award for dedicating over 1000 hours of community service to diabetes advocacy and education efforts. She is a past delegate to the American Diabetes Association’s Call to Congress and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Children’s Congress; in this capacity she met with local, state, and federal legislators and private sector leaders to highlight the challenges faced by people with diabetes. She plans to major in political science and ultimately pursue a career in legal advocacy around public health issues.
Chase Whitfield is a recent graduate from Harmony High School in Harmony, Florida where he served as student body president, student leader at his church, a member of Technology Student Association actively collaborating on a senior prototype project, and as a three-sport Varsity athlete and captain of the Football and Volleyball teams. He has received awards and recognitions such as National Merit finalist, AP + Project Lead the Way Scholar, 2- time national qualifier in coding, and Student Athlete Community Service Award by accumulating over 500 community service hours. An accomplished athlete, he was ranked 40th nationally as a long-snapper in football and has been a two-time regional qualifier for weightlifting. He is a future student-athlete at UF where he will play on the University’s football team while looking to dedicate the rest of his efforts toward exploring the expansive options the university provides through strong community, clubs, and professors who can help him maximize his academic potential. To optimize current medications and develop new ones, Chase’s goal is to create algorithms to find ideal chemicals and bonds that have properties that can best fight illnesses. He plans to major in computer science while minoring in chemistry to support this endeavor.