Office of Academic Support - University of Florida

UF TRIO Program Participants Recognized in State-Wide Scholarship Recognition Ceremony for First-Generation Students

Published July 16th, 2020

On Thursday, July 16, UF students Anthony Collins and Johanna Lucas were recognized at the Inaugural FL TRIO Scholarship Recognition Ceremony. The ceremony by FL TRIO honors statewide achievements by participants of TRIO Programs, which are federally funded programs for students who are the first in their families to attend college. TRIO Programs are designed to increase access, retention and graduation rates for these first-generation students. The University of Florida currently offers two of these programs; the UF McNair Scholars Program and Student Support Services (SSS).

Anthony Collins, a McNair scholar, was awarded FL TRIO collegiate program scholarships. Anthony is a 4th-year Behavioral & Cognitive Neuroscience major who is also minoring in Japanese. Outside of TRIO, Anthony has earned several other accomplishments and awards including research publications in the Journal of Biological Chemistry & Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, a Presentation Award in neuroscience for the Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, and the Ronald Reagan Scholarship. Anthony has also received scholarships from other UF first-generation student programs, including the UF PROMISE scholarship and the Machen Florida Opportunity Scholarship. He has been involved on campus as a co-founder for the UF Kanji Circle, mentor for the Khoshbouei Research Lab, volunteer presenter for Brain Awareness Week and member of the Society of Neuroscience and the UF Japanese organizations.

Johanna Lucas, an SSS scholar, was also awarded with program scholarships. Johanna is a 4th-year student majoring in Public Health. At UF, her campus involvement has included serving as an Academic Chair for the Multicultural Association for Pre-Health Students (MAPS), a program coordinator for Pledging to Advance Academic Capacity Together, an ambassador for Multicultural & Diversity Affairs, a volunteer at UF Health Shands Hospital and a member the UF Symphony Orchestra. Among her honors and awards are the 2020 Unsung Hero for the UF Black Community Awards and being a member for the Florida All-State Orchestra, FAU Honors Orchestra and Broward All-County Orchestra. At the FL TRIO event, Johanna showcased her talents with a violin performance! It was a moving moment for the crowd at the ceremony.

Program directors Dr. Samesha Barnes and Dr. Angeleah Browdy could not be prouder. “I am honored to have an exceptional scholar like Anthony in our program, as he exhibits the behavior and attitude that we hope to cultivate in all of our students,” said Dr. Barnes, Director for UF McNair Scholars. “He’s a true testament to the legacy of Dr. Ronald E. McNair and he is already creating his own legacy of research, scholarship, and service.” Dr. Browdy, Director for Student Support Services, also stated, “Johanna and Anthony have exemplified the level of scholarly excellence that we have come to expect from our UF TRiO Scholars. We’re certainly proud of their achievements.”

Both Anthony and Johanna expressed their gratitude for the UF TRIO Programs as well. “Had it not been for McNair, I honestly may have given up on the notion of graduate school, but now I have a dream of becoming a college professor,” said Anthony. “The experiences of applying for and being accepted by the McNair program were two of the most influential experiences of my life. Attending [professional] conferences such as SAEOPP, ABRCMS, and SREB granted me the opportunity to see top-notch research performed by experts in several specialties. Many of the people I met at these conferences have turned out to be invaluable connections that have changed my perspective of research for the better.”

Johanna added, “I had the privilege to join SSS my freshman year in Summer B 2017. This outstanding program at the University of Florida has granted me a supportive academic environment. Throughout the years, I have attended financial literacy workshops, academic workshops, tutoring sessions, the SSS Leadership Conference, graduate school informationals, and most recently the GRE Prep Skill Building. Last year, I was honored to receive a generous scholarship that has helped me overcome my financial challenges.”

She continued with, “What I love the most about SSS is that it continuously provides resources and services that have allowed me to gain essential academic, social, and leadership skills and confidence to reach my full potential and be successful at the University of Florida and in my future career as a medical doctor.”

We are super proud of our scholars and excited to see their talents shine through!