Campus Life

Florida high school seniors selected to prestigious award programs at UF

The University of Florida has named eight Florida high school seniors to the Lombardi Scholars Program and three to the Stamps Scholars Program. Each year, students who exemplify former UF President John V. Lombardi’s commitment to academic excellence, community service, leadership and public responsibility are selected as recipients of this prestigious award program.

Stamps Scholarships ( are made possible by generous funding from the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation. The Stamps Foundation seeks to reward exceptional students who exemplify leadership, perseverance, scholarship, service, and innovation. Stamps Scholars participate in biennial national conferences with a network of scholars from nearly 40 schools across the country.

Florida high schools were invited to nominate two students, and scholars for both programs were selected from 278 nominees and 22 finalists. The Lombardi program is in its 17th year, and this is the ninth year of the Stamps Program at UF. Both programs choose students from the same applicant pool who receive the same financial package and participate in the same enrichment activities. All scholars spend five weeks participating in a study program in Merida, the capital of the Yucatan, Mexico, during the summer before they begin at UF, and receive support for overseas leadership experiences for the following three summers. Scholars are members of UF’s Honors Program.

The 11 students who have accepted the Lombardi and Stamps scholarships beginning with the 2018-2019 academic year are:


Grethel Aguila is a senior in the Cambridge program at Miami Springs Senior High School in Miami Springs, where she leads the school’s chapter of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) and serves as Secretary-General of Model UN. Aguila was appointed to the Miami-Dade County Youth Commission in 2016 and elected secretary this year. Based on her interests in politics, language, culture, and public health she plans a career in global health with a goal to deliver quality healthcare to impoverished communities and countries. Aguila will major in medical geography in global health with a minor in Arabic.

Payton Bogert is a senior at Oviedo High School in Oviedo, where she serves as president of Beta Club and Mu Alpha Theta. Bogert is an AP scholar with Distinction and traveled to Japan on scholarship last summer with AIG’s High School Diplomats program. Profoundly hearing impaired, she successfully advocated for closed captioning on The Florida State Assessment test resulting in permanent change for thousands of deaf/hard of hearing students throughout the state. Bogert has worked extensively to help raise awareness and funding for pediatric cancer and plans on majoring in biology, ultimately pursuing a career as a pediatric oncologist.

Xander Boggs is a senior at Edgewood Junior / Senior High School in Merritt Island, where he serves as president of the senior class and defense captain of the lacrosse team. He has been named a National Merit Scholarship Finalist and an AP Scholar with Distinction. Music and the arts are a large part of Boggs’ life. He is the cello section leader in the Edgewood orchestra, has been an All-County and All-State musician, and has represented his troupe as a State Thespian. Boggs plans to major in cello performance and pursue a career in medicine.

Ron Cahlon is a senior at Nova High School in Davie, where is founder and president of the Jewish Student Union and has holds board positions in the National English Honors Society, National Science Honor Society, and Student Government. Outside of school he enjoys serving as a counselor and mentor for younger children through his community synagogue and through the Friends of the Israeli Scouts and was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award for commitment to community service. Cahlon intends to major in civil or environmental engineering.

Emma Donnelly is an AP Scholar with Distinction and attends the International Baccalaureate Program at Eastside High School in Gainesville, where she is president of the International Thespian Honor Society, captain of the swim team, and secretary of the National Honor Society. Donnelly mentors local elementary and middle school performing arts students and directed the Creative Academic Sports Camp in summer 2017 providing a free, educationally diverse summer camp to children from low income families. Currently, she leads Empowered Voices of the Youth, a forum to organize youth in response to gun violence, with assistance of the River Phoenix Center for Peace Building. Donnelly plans to major in anthropology.

Luz Mata is a senior at Belleview High School in Belleview, where she serves as president of the Anchor Club and the National Honor Society and captain of the women’s cross country team. Outside of school, she volunteers with the Youth United Way of Marion County and is cofounder and president of the Marion County Students Against Destructive Decisions Youth Administration Board. In preparation for a career in pediatric surgery, she attended the University of Florida’s Health Care Summer Institute in 2017 and plans to major in biomedical engineering before earning an M.D.-Ph.D.

Jacob Orlick is a senior National Merit Finalist in the International Baccalaureate Program at Thomas Richard Robinson High School in Tampa. He enjoys competing in the Future Business Leaders of America and American Legion Oratorical contests on the district and state level and serving his community as a member of the Tampa Mayor’s Youth Corps and volunteer with the Veterans History Project. Orlick explored a career in public service as an intern for Congresswoman Kathy Castor and a Senator at Florida Boys State in 2017. He plans to major in accounting at UF.

Hannah Townley is an AP Scholar with Distinction and President of the Class of 2018 at George Jenkins High School in Lakeland. She has earned over 1000 hours of community service through her work with local literacy programs and the YMCA. In the YMCA’s Youth in Government program, where she serves as Speaker of the House, Townley leads the high school legislative program and mentors middle school students. As a Youth Advocate for the YMCA, she advocated to US Congress and the Florida Legislature on matters of children’s rights and public health. Townley plans to major in international studies and economics before pursuing a law degree.


Jonathan Gant is an AP Scholar with Distinction at Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park, where he is founder/president of the chemistry club and captain of the debate team. Throughout high school, Gant has conducted independent research in chemistry, competing in local and state science fairs. He spent the summer of 2017 as a high school fellow in the Boston University Research in Science and Engineering Program, working in an organic chemistry lab alongside faculty and graduate students. In addition to science, Gant is active in the arts. He is part of his school choir, sang in the Florida All-State Concert choir and competed at the ICHSA (International Championship of High School A Cappella) quarterfinals. He plans to pursue dual degrees in physics and mathematics with the aspiration to become a research scientist.

Corey Ryan is a senior in the Cambridge Program at Gainesville High School in Gainesville, where he serves as captain of the wrestling team. Corey has earned ‘Top in Country’ scores in Cambridge AS Level Physics and AS Level Environmental Management exams and has also been recognized as an AP scholar and National Merit Finalist. He serves as a junior leader in his Boy Scout troop and has achieved the rank of Eagle Scout with a Gold Palm. Active in his church, Ryan works as a Sunday school teacher’s aide and was named the Altar Server of the Year. He plans to major in civil engineering with a minor in Environmental Science and pursue research in innovative public works technologies.

Sarah Tatum is a National Merit Finalist and National AP Scholar at West Orange High school in Winter Garden, where she serves as President of a 500-member National Honor Society chapter. Under her leadership, NHS accumulated thousands of hours of community service on local and international projects. Tatum accumulated research experience as a participant in UF’s Science Quest and Explorations in Biomedical Research programs and at Harvard in the summer of 2017 studying regenerative medicine. She plans to study microbiology and cell science with a minor in bioinformatics in preparation for a career in immunology and public health.

Mark Law Author
May 10, 2018