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Talent Search travels to Florida

Five women pose for a photo in front of a live oak tree arched over the water of a lake.
Talent Search participants D'Quori Horsley (left to right), Stella Sun, October Rainey, and Grace Lafon stand with Kyra Heatherman, a Talent Search advisor. Photo by Diane Deffenbaugh for Virginia Tech.

From planes to palm trees, alligators to algae labs, four high schoolers from Southwest Virginia spent nearly a week navigating a world very different from their own hometowns while attending a national conference, all thanks to Virginia Tech TRIO Programs Talent Search.

The University of Florida’s I Dig TRIO Biological Science Conference and Fair introduced students to the wide variety of careers available in the sciences and provided opportunities for the students to meet others from across the country. 

And it’s all free through Talent Search, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Education that helps students in sixth through 12th grades stay on track to graduate and go on to pursue higher education. From rural Appalachian towns to cities such as Lynchburg and Martinsville, the program at Virginia Tech serves up to 680 students a year across 24 schools in Southwest Virginia.