TURNPIKE STEM Scholarship Program

The TURNPIKE STEM Scholarship Program is a financial and academic support program funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program . TURNPIKE is a collaboration with the University of South Florida (USF). Through this program, students can receive TURNPIKE scholarships and activities that are designed for academically promising students with financial need who intend to graduate from Polk State College and transfer to USF to earn a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, or Computer Science/Information Technology.

Students selected to participate in TURNPIKE will receive scholarships up to $10,000 per year for two years at Polk State and two years at USF once accepted into the USF College of Engineering. The amount of individual scholarships are dependent on each participant’s unmet financial need.

While at Polk State, students in the program will work closely with a dedicated faculty mentor, participate in peer-led Course-driven Learning Communities (CLCs) in select science and math courses as well as English Composition, and work on NSF Grand Challenge Design Thinking activities led by USF faculty. The same USF faculty will serve as mentors for students once they transfer to USF.  Participants will tour STEM workplaces such as NASA, attend USF’s annual Engineering Expo, tour USF labs and facilities, and meet with engineering and computer science professionals to explore career options.

Students are selected through an application process.

Up to twenty-five students will be selected to participate each year by a panel of Science and Mathematics faculty. Students not selected for the scholarship in the first term they apply will be put on a waiting list and may be invited to receive a scholarship the following term or should a vacancy exist.  Students on the waiting list are encouraged to participate in CLCs and other TURNPIKE activities so they are prepared to join the program if a space becomes available.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Financial need indicated on FAFSA
  • Intended transfer major in Engineering or Computer Science/Information Technology
  • GPA of 2.75 or above

Selection Criteria:

  • High School and/or College transcripts as applicable
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Personal interview