Florida Tech Announces Winner of 2017 Farmer Scholarship

Waldo, Florida’s Camara Lyn Casson
to Study Biomedical Engineering

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology has named Camara Lyn Casson the 2017 recipient of its most prestigious financial award, the Farmer Scholarship.

Casson, 17, of Waldo, Florida, graduated this year from Eastside High School in Gainesville, about 14 miles southwest of Waldo. Ranked first in her class of 358, she earned a 5.0 weighted grade point average and a long list of school and community achievements.

Casson was captain of the varsity softball team and the defensive captain of a Waldo Area Tackle Football team in a league in which she was the season’s lone female to participate. Off the playing field, she was a founding member of the Alachua County Virtual Cemeteries project and founder of the K2K Mentoring Program, which offers tutoring and mentoring to at-risk youth. She received the Outstanding Citizen Award from the City of Waldo in 2014.

“I am really excited to come to Florida Tech in the fall,” Casson said. “For me, it means the start of a new chapter.”

The Farmer Scholars program began in 2009, when Phillip W. Farmer, retired chairman, president and chief executive officer of Harris Corp. and past chairman of the Florida Tech Board of Trustees, donated $1.5 million to establish the endowed scholarship.

The program provides a full, four-year scholarship awarded annually to a Florida resident and high school graduate who is among the top 5 percent of his or her class and demonstrates exceptional academic achievement and outstanding personal character.

Included in the scholarship are all tuition and university fees, a room in Harris Village’s Farmer Hall and the regular university meal plan. Additionally, the Farmer Scholar is given a stipend between the junior and senior years for enrichment through Florida Tech’s summer study abroad program at Oxford University.

“With her strong work ethic and commitment to both service and academic achievement, Camara will no doubt be highly successful in all she chooses to pursue,” Kathryn Zara-Smith, Casson’s teacher this year in the International Baccalaureate Higher Level Contemporary History course, wrote in her letter of recommendation.

She added, “Camara is a woman of integrity, humility and maturity.”

Casson said she was attracted to biomedical engineering for reasons both personal and professional. She likes that it would allow for her to use her creativity and to continue to do something that has long motivated her: help others.

“And many medical issues need to be addressed in this day and age, and I would love to tackle some of those issues, especially neural diseases and injuries considering a family member of mine is a quadriplegic,” she said. “I ultimately want to work within a tissue-engineering field doing research on those medical conditions.”

Florida Tech President T. Dwayne McCay said biomedical engineering seems like an ideal fit for someone with Casson’s intellect, passion and desire to make a difference.

“This emerging field has the real potential to improve many lives in the future. With Farmer Scholars like Camara guided by our outstanding faculty, the future is very promising,” McCay said.


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