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FSA Awards Scholarships

June 21, 2011

For Immediate Release

Florida Sheriffs Association Awards Scholarships to Students
Studying Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice


Austin Kaufman with his father, Capt. Dan Kaufman (left) and Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube

Tallahassee, Fla. (June 21, 2011) – Every year the Florida Sheriffs Association awards a number of scholarships to hardworking students studying for a career in law enforcement, corrections or another field of criminal justice. These students look to follow in the footsteps of their parents, as they are also the sons and daughters of employees working full-time at one of the state’s 67 Florida Sheriffs’ Offices. To be considered for the scholarship, students submitted a five-page application in addition to an essay on "The Role Integrity Plays throughout the Career of a Law Enforcement or Corrections Deputy." The applications and essays were then reviewed by a committee of representatives from the Florida Sheriffs Association who selected the nine recipients.

Students receiving scholarships this year:
Andrew Interial – State College of Florida
He is the son of Sgt. Kevin Pingel from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and will be working toward his AA degree in criminal justice. He hopes to start the police academy immediately after receiving his degree and wants to become a deputy by the time he is 22 years old.
Austin Kaufman – University of North Florida
He is the son of Capt. Daniel Kaufman from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and is currently working on a four-year degree in criminal justice. He is very active in Student Government and has logged over 200 hours of community service.

Megan Richards, daughter of Child Protective Investigator Rhonda Stopler, is pictured with Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco.

Albert J. Perotta – Daytona State College
He is the son of Sgt. Albert Perrotta from the Volusia County Sherriff’s Office and will be working toward a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He is interested in a career in federal law enforcement and has led several community fundraising events including a beach cleanup and a project to enhance the landscape of the New Smyrna Beach High School.
Bryan Ray – Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
He is the son of Officer Marcus Ray Sr., from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and is currently in his junior year focusing on Terrorism Studies within Homeland Security and Emergency Management while also pursuing a minor in psychology. He was listed in the 2006-07 “Who’s Who Amongst America’s High School Students,” with a 4.0 GPA and many accomplishments in track and field.


Marisa Shivers with father, Hardee County Sheriff's Detective Johnny Shivers (left), and Hardee County Sheriff Arnold Lanier.

Megan Richards – Pasco-Hernando Community College
She is the daughter of Rhonda Stopler, child protective investigator with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, and will be pursuing a degree in criminology. She would like to follow in the footsteps of her mother and has already volunteered at the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office child protection services office during her senior year of high school.
Marisa Shivers – Florida Gulf Coast University
She is the daughter of Sgt. John Rivers from the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office and is currently in her sophomore year studying criminal forensic science. She has logged over 400 hours of community service with organizations such as the Lions Club of Wauchula and the Hardee County School Board.
Amanda VanDermark – St. Johns River State College
She is the daughter of Scott and Patricia VanDermark, corrections deputies with the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and will be pursuing an A.S. degree in criminal justice. She would like to have a career as a K-9 officer or crime scene investigator and has volunteered with fingerprint demonstrations at local middle schools.
Kristin Vara – Florida State University
She is the daughter of Cheryl Vara, special projects coordinator for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in pre-law and/or criminal justice. She is a very well rounded student: on the national honor society, excelling in athletics, and finding time to assist the Department of Law Enforcement Business Office and Finance Department with clerical support during emergency response from hurricanes Katrina and Wilma.

Amanda VanDermark with parents (left) Corrections Deputies Scott and Patricia, and St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar (right).

Katarina Vara – Florida Atlantic University
She is the daughter of Cheryl Vara, special projects coordinator for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and is entering her senior year studying public communication. She hopes to become a Public Information Officer and has volunteered at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office in the media relations office where she has also written many articles for the quarterly publication, Signal 14.


“FSA is pleased to continue its long-standing reputation of supporting the education of youth interested in law enforcement with the awarding of these scholarships,” said FSA Executive Director Steve Casey. “It is through these scholarships that FSA can help students develop into better educated and more productive members of society, helping keep our state safe.”

Each student will receive $1,000. Funds for these scholarships are donated from the generous members of the Florida Sheriffs Association. FSA also provides a $1,000 scholarship which is given to the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches and awarded to a worthy student who is choosing a law enforcement or criminal justice career track.

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The Florida Sheriffs Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation made up of the Sheriffs of Florida, approximately 3,500 business leaders and 70,000 citizens throughout the state. Founded in 1893, FSA has quietly served the citizens of Florida by supporting the needs of the state's law enforcement community. Through the Florida Sheriffs Association, Sheriffs are given a forum to address lawmakers to push for positive changes in Florida’s public safety arena. FSA also provides Sheriffs' Offices much-needed programs such as affordable training, special task forces and legislative and legal services. Dedicated to the prevention of juvenile delinquency and the development of lawful, productive citizens, FSA has established and funded the Florida Sheriffs Youth Ranches with facilities throughout the state to help restore hope, fulfill dreams, and prepare boys and girls for the future. It has grown to be one of the largest and most successful state law enforcement associations in the nation. For more information on the Florida Sheriffs Association, visit

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