Community Scholars Initiative

Our mission: A Community of Educational Excellence The mission of the Lake Nona community is to inspire human potential through innovative collaboration. Lake Nona is a community committed to sustainable design and healthy, education-centered living.  We look to bring that mission and vision to the community's students through the Community Scholars Initiative

Through partnership and collaboration with the University of Central Florida (UCF), Orange County Public Schools (OCPS), and the School District of Osceola County, Lake Nona and Valencia College have developed supplemental programs to support current classroom curriculums tailored to different age levels for elementary, middle, and high school students throughout the area.

As a living lab, Lake Nona is uniquely positioned to envision and develop this model educational ecosystem. Moreover, with its robust partnerships and culture of collaboration, the Lake Nona community has the capacity to bring the ecosystem to scale unlike any other community in the country and bring elevated educational opportunities to a wider audience.


Community Scholars Initiative Logo

Scientist-in-Residence Program

What is a Scientist-in-Residence?
A Scientist-in-residence is a volunteer who is passionate about helping inspire and educate the future of STEM. Scientists-in-residence will assist local teachers in the classroom by increasing student engagement, interest in STEM, and deeper level understanding of crucial concepts.

About the program
The scientist-in-residence program will introduce students to local STEM professionals, create opportunities for inquiry-based and hands-on learning, and increase students’ exposure to potential career pathways in STEM.

A Scientist-in-Residence will be partnered with a local elementary, middle, or high school to work with the administration and faculty on enhancing experiences of students in the classroom. This may include presentations, co-teaching, mentoring, advising on student projects, etc. depending on the needs and desires of each individual school.

Who can be a Scientist-in-residence?

  • Any professional or graduate student from a science, technology, engineering, math or medicine field are welcome.
  • Participants should have a minimum of a Master’s degree or 5 years post-baccalaureate professional experience.
  • A passion for the outreach, diversity, inclusion, and education are highly desired.
  • Experience in K-12 education is not required. Training will be provided.
  • A letter of support from supervisors or principal investigators is required for participation in the program.

Commitment of a Scientist-in-Residence

  • 1 year minimum commitment (September to May)
  • Paired with one school in the greater Lake Nona area
  • Minimum of one visit to partner school per month

For more information

Apply to be a Scientist-in-Residence today.

Community Library Services

Pop-up Library Events at the Valencia Lake Nona Campus
Pop-up library events are currently suspended due to COVID-19 closures.  Stay tuned for new dates in Fall 2020!

Teacher interacting with students in classroom

Three students in lab

Educator Resources

For information on professional development opportunities, community resources and opportunities, STEM classroom resources and more please join our virtual professional learning community.

Visit our Canvas site for area Educators and our Facebook group for teachers.

Would you like to join our mailing list for educator opportunities and events?


Experiential Learning

With a wealth of unique assets and collaborative spirit, Lake Nona has the potential to become the most robust experiential learning community in the country. Students in the Lake Nona community should have a unique opportunity to learn about a variety of career pathways, particularly in STEM fields, through internship and job shadowing experiences. Internships and job shadowing are excellent ways to learn, experience real-life careers, and grow your resume.

Join our networking group on LinkedIn to support student and young professional workforce development in Lake Nona.

For more information from our partners, please see below.

Orange County Public Schools Career and Technical Education
Osceola County School District Career and Technical Education
Valencia Internship and Workforce Services

UCF Experiential Learning
Canvas site for area Educators

If your business is interested in offering internship or job shadowing opportunities, please click here email us.

Two women talking outside of campus building

Student Research

The Community Scholars Initiative is committed to connecting our area students to exciting research opportunities.

This July, Community Scholars Initiative will be hosting a virtual summer camp for Orange and Osceola students who will be taking AP Research at area high schools in the 2020-21 school year.  Register here.  For more information, please click here to email us.

Check out research at our partner institutions at the links below.

If your lab or business is interested in offering research opportunities to high school or undergraduate students, please click here to email us.


Our Partners