Olin Wolfgram, FWBHS, Named the Sunshine State Scholar; Sean Marlin Dickerson, NHS, Named Alternate

Olin Wolfgram, Fort Walton Beach High School

Each of Florida’s school districts selects their top 11th grade students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) to represent their district as the Sunshine State Scholar. Each scholar, along with their parents, will travel to Orlando for an extraordinary two-day program designed to bring together scholars from around the state, connect them with employers that specialize in the STEM fields, and create a networking opportunity between the scholars and schools from Florida’s College and State University System. This year’s program will bring 103 high school STEM scholars together to conduct a “think tank” on tough Florida challenges.

Olin Wolfgram, Fort Walton Beach High School, has been named the Okaloosa County Sunshine State Scholar, and Sean Marlin Dickerson, Niceville High School, has been named the Alternate Okaloosa County Sunshine State Scholar.

Olin Wolfgram, Fort Walton Beach High School

The grandson of seamen, Olin was raised in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, on a barrier island situated between the lntracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico. “Living here has allowed me to pursue my passion for sailing and demonstrate my proclivity for academics. I have proactively enrolled in the most rigorous courses Fort Walton Beach High School (FWBHS) offers and currently rank No. 1 in my class.” An active Viking, he joined the Sailing Team as a freshman and has served as Team Captain the past two years. This year, he was elected Treasurer of the Math Club (Mu Alpha Theta), which he has belonged to for three years. “A highlight was competing at the 32nd and 33rd Annual Northwest Florida State College Math Bowls as a ‘mathlete.’"

Wolgram has been invited to represent Fort Walton Beach High School at the National Student Leadership Conference and the Congress of Future Medical Leaders. Last summer, he was one of two Fort Walton Beach High School students to attend the Florida North Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) Leadership Seminar, earning the status of HOBY Ambassador. As a FWBHS Viking Scholar, Anne T. Mitchell Academic Awards recipient and club officer, Olin balances his academic load while building his leadership skills within the community. Working as a summer Sailing Instructor for the Emerald Coast Sailing Association, he taught students the fundamentals of sailing. He has also served as captain of the Fort Walton Yacht Club Junior Lipton Sailing Team, where he traveled to Gulfport, Mississippi in July to compete in a Viper 640 Class regatta.

After researching many STEMM leaning universities and colleges, Olin plans to enroll at the U.S. Naval Academy, a renowned military institution. “This school uniquely pairs my interests in sailing and nuclear energy by offering courses in nuclear studies and naval propulsion systems. Graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy as a naval officer, I hope to pursue either submarine or surface warfare services.

Sean Marlin Dickerson, Niceville High School

Sean Marlin Dickerson, Niceville High School

“Hollywood movies such as Star Wars and Star Trek depict futuristic civilizations that travel around in floating spaceships throughout a galaxy and in various solar systems,” said Sean Dickerson. “Even though these spaceships are just fiction, they have sparked my interest in the possibility of one day developing similar futuristic vehicles capable of efficient space travel. These fictional civilizations depict a world not centered around a planet like Earth, but instead within an entire galaxy. Throughout history, human curiosity has led us to venture into the unknown looking to make new discoveries. I believe it is this feeling of mystery and possibility that will lead humans to one day venture out into the unsettled region of space, and I want to be a part of making it happen. In the modern world, organizations such as SpaceX and NASA operate in this industry of space exploration and inspire people by showing that current advancements are just a stepping-stone for what is possible in the future. These recent innovations, along with my imagination have fueled my interest in aerospace engineering, more specifically astronomical engineering. To learn and adapt myself more to this field I have taken part in Florida's State Science and Engineering Fair the past few years and complimented it with extra math and physics courses to further understand and develop engineering concepts.”

In his essay, Sean continued by saying, “Even more important than learning concepts is putting them into motion through real world activities. To achieve this important aspect, I have started an engineering club at my high school where I plan to invite engineer speakers and partake in challenging engineering activities all while spreading my passion with other students. While lots of personal learning and progress can be made at my current level, I cannot accomplish all my goals because high schools do not teach the depth needed to reach my goals. They can only be reached once I learn and understand the most advanced and recent concepts and apply them with an abundant supply of quality resources. This level can only be achieved through the college system. It is because of this important step that I continue to work hard in all my curriculars to achieve the standards needed for a high-level university. The support from my family, school, and community will be sure to propel me into achieving my future ambitions.”