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By Melissa Powell
June 2017

SSTRIDE program expands to Sarasota County with Barancik Foundation gift

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida State University College of Medicine SSTRIDE program has received a five-year, $500,000 grant from the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation to establish a chapter in Sarasota County.

The medical school pipeline program consists of in- and after-school resources providing academic instruction and experiential activities to encourage interest in STEM fields and prepare students for college and a possible future in health care. “SSTRIDE is a proven program,” said Barancik Foundation President and CEO Teri A Hansen. “We were able to look at data from around the state and see that it is a program that has success in attracting students to study and pursue careers in STEM. This partnership with Florida State University is a natural continuation of our education and workforce development grant-making.”

SSTRIDE (Science Students Together Reaching Instructional Diversity & Excellence) began in 1994 as an outreach effort of the Program in Medical Sciences, the precursor to the FSU College of Medicine. The program has successfully prepared numerous students for entry to medical school at Florida State and elsewhere, helping the FSU College of Medicine fulfill its mission to produce more physicians who will care for Florida’s underserved, including those in rural communities.

Of the nearly 750 SSTRIDE participants currently being tracked, more than half chose a science, math or health major upon entering college.

Sarasota County’s SSTRIDE will target students at McIntosh Middle and Sarasota High School who have a genuine interest in pursuing a career in science, engineering, mathematics, health or medicine. The program works to give those students the support services important for them to develop the sense of responsibility, focus and motivation necessary for success in their chosen fields.

Sarasota County Schools sent members of its leadership team to evaluate the program at work in Collier County.

“The SSTRIDE program provides all of those components that are hard for us to duplicate in a public school system. We went to visit the program in Immokalee and we were incredibly impressed,” said Stephen Cantees, executive director of high school education for Sarasota County.

“I don’t know that I’ve seen a model as thorough and as comprehensive as the SSTRIDE program that we’ve had the opportunity to implement for these students who are typically going to be first-generation college students in their families.”

The first class of Sarasota County SSTRIDE students will consist of 40 participants who will each attend a summer orientation set for early August.

Sarasota County will become the eighth Florida community to invest in SSTRIDE, joining Collier, Gadsden, Leon, Madison, Okaloosa, Orange and Walton counties.

“The infrastructure that we have in place is what makes it successful – we work with these students from eighth grade through 12th grade every day. We bring a whole wealth of training, experiences and opportunities to these students not just in academics but also leadership and professional development,” said Thesla Berne-Anderson, the medical school’s director of college and pre-college outreach. “When they finish, they are successful in college, and those that come here to FSU feed into the undergraduate SSTRIDE program.”

About the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation

The Charles and Margery Barancik family has long believed in the power of philanthropy to shape our world and enrich the lives of all people. It was the expression of this belief that led them in 2014 to establish the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation – a private, family foundation located in Sarasota, Florida. The Barancik Foundation creates initiatives and awards grants in Sarasota and beyond in the areas of education, humanitarian causes, arts and culture, the environment, and medical (research/resources). For further information, please contact Kelly Romanoff at