New UF summer program lets high school students get hands-on with Florida's past, present, and future

Published: February 24 2015


This summer, 24 rising high school juniors and seniors will learn about the humanities as they explore the cultural history, environment and diversity of north Central Florida. Thanks to a grant from the Florida Humanities Council, the University of Florida’s Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere – with support of the Robert and Margaret Rothman Endowment for the Humanities and UF’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – is offering a weeklong seminar that will take students to shell mounds at Cedar Key, the site of the former town of Rosewood, the springs at Silver Glen State Park and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ house at Cross Creek State Park. The program will be coordinated by faculty members Bonnie Effros and Sophia Acord.

The program, “Humanities and the Sunshine State: Exploring Florida’s Past, Present, and Future,” is the first humanities-oriented residential program for high school students offered through UF’s Center for Precollegiate Education and Training. During the course, each student will be issued an iPad to collect data for a final capstone project, working with Florida history resources in UF Smathers Library’s Department of Special and Area Studies Collections and receiving training through the Department of History’s Samuel Proctor Oral History Program. The participants will be mentored by more than 15 faculty members, librarians and doctoral students from UF and Santa Fe College.

“These hands-on interactions are the key to learning and doing humanities scholarship while also providing insight into the possibilities of a well-rounded college experience,” said Effros, a history professor and Rothman Chair and Director of the Center for the Humanities and Public Sphere. “It is our hope that by the end of the week, these students will realize just how crucial a role the humanities play in our everyday lives. At their best, the humanities offer the tools by which students can better understand and negotiate the fast-changing world around them.”

Applications are now being accepted from rising juniors and seniors in Florida at


Writer: Gigi Marino,


Bonnie Effros, (352) 392-0796,

Sophia Krzys Acord, (352) 392-0796,