Campus Life

UWF welcomes National Merit Finalist and top scholarship recipients to campus

The University of West Florida welcomed its 11th National Merit Finalist in six years this fall. Amanda Serger was among approximately 15,000 students across the country who met the requirements for Finalist standing, out of an estimated 1.5 million high school juniors who participated in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship competition.

National Merit Finalists earn UWF’s top scholarship with a total value of more than $50,000, including full tuition, room and board, a $800-per-semester book stipend and a research or study abroad experience.

Serger, a mechanical engineering major from Milford, Ohio, said UWF was easily her first choice because she felt valued as a student and a person there. 

“The University’s welcoming atmosphere, stellar academics and professors’ genuine interest in their students was very appealing,” Serger said. “With my undergraduate tuition and fees covered, I can focus on furthering my education and involving myself in all that UWF has to offer without worrying about the financial aspect of school.”

The University also hosted its annual President’s Scholarship Competition, which awards top Florida-resident incoming freshmen who show potential to serve as future leaders with the Institution’s most prestigious scholarship, the Pace Presidential Scholarship. This scholarship is offered in conjunction with Florida Bright Futures and covers on-campus room and board, tuition, a $800 book stipend and a research or study abroad experience, totaling more than $50,000.

The six students who were awarded the Pace Presidential Scholarship in 2022 include:

  • Sarah Cameron, software design and development major from Fort Walton Beach High School
  • Lipid Churinov, cybersecurity major from Collegiate High School at Northwest Florida State College
  • Emma Goldberg, criminal justice major from Milton High School
  • Maggie Johnson, mathematics teaching major from Pensacola Catholic High School
  • Elisabetta Savini, natural science major from Collegiate High School at Northwest Florida State College
  • Grace Whitley, political science major from Pensacola High School

UWF President Martha D. Saunders said the University continues to draw exemplary students represented by these top scholars because of its commitment to educational and co-curricular learning experiences. 

“We’re not only focused on educating students but also preparing them for success in their careers and their personal lives,” Saunders said. “Our top scholars have already shown great promise, and we are honored to play such an important role in who they will become.”

In 2019, the University established the Argo Spirit Scholarship, a full-ride, competitive scholarship awarded to first-time-in-college freshmen who have shown strength of character, or “Argo Spirit.” Argo Spirit involves overcoming obstacles, fighting for something important and making an impact while in high school. 

The five students who were awarded the Argo Spirit scholarship in 2022 include:

  • Alexis Eastburn, elementary education major from Pensacola Catholic High School
  • Alexandra Feller, nursing major from Baker High School
  • Hannah Holm, musical theatre major from Plant City High School
  • Douglas Monroe, computer engineering major from Eastside High School in Gainesville
  • Jeep Yates, chemistry major from Kolbe Academy in Pensacola

For more information about the 2022 top scholars recipients, visit For more information on all undergraduate scholarship opportunities, visit