FSA Awards Scholarships to Students Studying Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice

October 08, 2018

The Florida Sheriffs Association, following in its annual tradition, has awarded scholarships to hardworking students studying toward a career in law enforcement, corrections or another criminal justice field. These students look to follow in the footsteps of their parents, as they are also the sons and daughters of employees working full-time for a Florida Sheriff’s office. To be considered for the scholarship, students submitted a five-page application and an essay on how their parent motivated them to choose law enforcement. The applications and essays were reviewed by a committee of representatives from the Florida Sheriffs Association whose members selected the 13 recipients. The 2018 recipients are:

Cameron Ayala – Broward College
Cameron is the son of David Ayala, Broward County Deputy. Cameron will be working towards a degree in Criminal Justice at Broward College – Davie Campus, to pursue a career in Law Enforcement, like his father. Some leadership positions that Cameron held included Stranahan High School Marine Corps JROTC Staff Sergeant, and valued member of the Stranahan High Varsity basketball District Champion team.

Gerig Blackman – Webber International University
Gerig is the son of Paul Blackman, Highlands County Sheriff. Gerig is studying Criminal Justice Management in anticipation of working in Law Enforcement. Gerig says his love for Law Enforcement stems from his father’s career in the field and values the example he has become to him. Colonel of JROTC, National Honor Society, and Baseball team leader are just a few extracurricular activities that Gerig remains active in. 

Sarah Coleman – University of Florida
Sarah is the daughter of Kevin Coleman, Broward County Deputy. Sarah will be obtaining a B.S. degree in Criminology and Political Science in hopes of starting a career in Criminal Law. Sarah is very active in her school’s extracurricular activities and has achieved many accomplishments such as University of Florida Dean’s List, High School AP Scholar award, Pre-Legal Honor Society, and the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Laura Crespo – University of Central Florida
Laura is the daughter of Jose Crespo, Deputy with Hernando County. Laura’s goals are to pursue a career in Forensic Science at the University of Central Florida. Involved in a number of organizations, Laura was a leader of the Fellowship Committee, Leadership Committee, and member of Phi Theta Kappa. 

Cayden Davis – Florida Gulf Coast University
Cayden is the son of Todd Davis, Lieutenant with Charlotte County. Cayden will obtain his Bachelor’s degree at FGCU in preparation for a career in Law Enforcement. Involved in a number of organizations, Cayden was a member of Student Government, National Honor Society, Honors Academy, and a trained patron in Nokido Ju-Jitsu.

Antonio Gonzalez – Hillsborough Community College
Antonio is the son of Manuel Gonzalez, Detective with Hillsborough County. As an avid fisherman, Antonio spent time in high school mentoring members of the community through fishing excursions; he was the team captain of his high school basketball team, and a 2018 Tony Saladino Baseball Champion. Antonio plans to earn a degree in Criminal Justice in hopes to pursue a career in law enforcement.

Marcus James – Florida Atlantic University
Son of Doris Gabe, Secretary with Miami-Dade Police, Marcus James was a Top 50 student in his graduating class for academics, President of the 5000 Role Model Club, Vice President of the Youth Division at St. Paul AME Church, a Wilson scholar, and received special academic recognition from the Miami Dolphins while in high school. James plans to pursue a career in Law Enforcement by attaining a BA in Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University.

Devin Jaramillo – University of Central Florida
Devin is the son of David Jaramillo, a detective with the Miami-Dade Police. Devin’s lifelong goal of working in law enforcement was influenced by family. In high school, he was sent a Congressional Nomination for the United States Military Academy, was a member of the Hispanic Police Officers Association, and participated in the FBI Honors Internship program. He plans to obtain a degree in Criminal Justice to work in law enforcement.

Conner Niklinski – Florida State University
Conner is the son of Cyril Niklinski. Cyril is a Detective with Manatee County. Conner would like to pursue a career in law enforcement after obtaining a degree in cyber criminology from Florida State University. He was an active member of the Lakewood leaders, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Miracle League, and received awards such as the Lakewood Ranch Certificate of Excellence for yearlong A’s as well as receiving the dependability award and award for perfect attendance.

Ronald Shaw – Santa Fe State College
Ronald is the son of Ronald Shaw Jr., Captain with Seminole County. Ronald plans to take his talents to Santa Fe State College where he will obtain an A.A. degree in Criminal Justice in hopes to transfer into the University of Florida. His life long career goal of working within Law Enforcement is preceded by many extracurricular activities in high school. He founded Student Selection, as well as having the role of Wrestling Team Captain and Social Media Liaison for all high school teams at his school.

Doneisha Solomon – Bethune-Cookman University
Doneisha is the daughter of Donzalo Solomon, Police Officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. She plans to take her academic career to Bethune-Cookman to study Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. She has interned with the Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office, and received many awards such as, Highest Band GPA, Top Senior Award, Volleyball team Captain, and the Duval County Super Senior Achievement Award.

Zyniah Thompson – Nova Southeastern University
Zyniah is the daughter of Antonio Russ, Sergeant with Broward County. A sophomore at Nova Southeastern, Zyniah is heavily involved on campus just as she was in high school. She is studying political science in hopes to one day attend law school to practice law. She was the recipient of the Gordon & Donner Law Scholarship as well as participating in student government, Mentoring Tomorrow’s Leaders, the Black Student Union, and was high school class Vice President. She hopes to run for president of the Black Student Union at Nova Southeastern this year.

Dillon York – University of North Florida
Dillon is the son of Jesse York, Lieutenant with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. He hopes to have a future career in law enforcement. Dillon is studying political science, criminal justice, and hopes to obtain his JD in criminal law. He has been active in law enforcement programs such as working with drug enforcement administration in the Miami division as well as working with deputy justice attorneys in which he assisted DEA tech teams. He is active in Olympic Taekwondo instruction and is a self-defense instructor. Dillon was in Golden Key International Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, on the FSCJ President’s list as well as earning an AA degree with high honors.

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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 steadfastly 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.