Anderson Scholars of Distinction (3.8 GPA or above after two years of undergraduate study at UF) stand to be recognized during the CLAS Fall Convocation. CLAS scholarship recipients and National Merit, National Achievement, and National Hispanic Scholars were also honored during the annual ceremony.
President Lombardi, granted "honorary Anderson Scholar" status by Dean Harrison, congratulates Anderson Scholar Andre Higgins at the Fall Convocation Reception.
Jaime Converse, a 21-year-old CLAS senior, was recently crowned "Miss Florida" and will be vying for the title "Miss USA" in March. Converse, who has maintained a 3.19 GPA as a student of political science, plans to graduate in December. Next fall she hopes to attend law school.
When asked how becoming Miss USA would change her life, she explains that she's taking it all one step at a time. "Right now I'm concentrating on preparing for the pageant mentally and physically, and I'm lining up my sponsors." Sponsors are crucial since competing can be very expensive. Last year's Miss Florida, says Converse, spent $15,000 on her outfits alone.
Converse has been competing in pageants since she was 11. "Once you've done one, you keep going back," she said. "You get bitten by the bug."
After excellent performances in their season's first two tournaments, the Gator Debaters are ranked fourth in the nation. "My debaters won the junior varsity division at the University of South Carolina - one of the largest tournaments in the nation with the exception of nationals," reported an enthusiastic Kellie Roberts, UF debate coach. Since the team was so successful in their first competition, Roberts entered them in the varsity division for their second tournament (at Middle Tennessee State University). "They made it all the way to the semi-final round. We are off to a wonderful start!" said Roberts. Although the gator debaters attract students from many different UF colleges, Liberal Arts and Sciences students make up the majority of the participants.
Gator Debaters (clockwise from front left): Jennifer Smith, Jesse Itzkowitz, John Sullivan, John Eggers, and Melissa Gittings.