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Island student debt free thanks to scholarships

June 12, 2019
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Thanks to the many scholarship programs on Pine Island, when Ryan Robertson graduated in May from Florida State University he graduated debt free.

"Scholarships from FSU and Florida Bright Futures helped a lot but if it wasn't for the great support from Pine Island and the scholarships from so many organizations, I would have had to take out a loan," Robertson said. "With the islands help, I had 100 percent of my education covered."

Robertson is a sixth generation native Pine Islander and was raised in a single parent household by his mother, Sheryl.

Article Photos

Ryan Robertson

"My family has been here so long I think my original descendants came from Spain," Robertson said. "I feel very blessed to have grown up on Pine Island. Most people don't have a childhood where they can just run around, hang out in the woods, go swimming and go fishing every single day after school. It's a lot like paradise and I've been very lucky."

Robertson attended Pine Island Elementary School, graduated from Mariner High School with a 4.0 GPA, (his weighted GPA was 5.32), and finally graduated on May 4 from Florida State University with a perfect 4.0 GPA and a degree in chemical engineering.

Robertson received his first college scholarships in 2015 from Pine Island Women of the Moose, The Matlacha Hookers, Greater Pine Island Elks Charitable Trust, Greater Pine Island Kiwanis Club and the Bobbly Holloway Memorial Scholarship. He also received an additional scholarship from the city of Cape Coral.

"Going into high school I wasn't sure what I wanted to be," Robertson said. "I knew I didn't want to just take a job to make money, I wanted to do something that would challenge me. I was taking classes I liked in chemistry and math and then in my senior year I had conversations with some people about the petroleum industry and decided this is what I want to do."

Robertson was concerned about the ethics of the industry and did some research.

"Today's oil refineries are at the forefront of change," Robertson said. "In my research I learned that by being in the petroleum industry I could do more for the environment than people outside the industry."

In the following years, Robertson received repeat scholarships from the Matlacha Hookers, Pine Island Kiwanis, Bobby Holloway Foundation and several others.

Robertson will be leaving for his first job for an international oil company as a petroleum engineer. His official title is "process engineer."

"I'm leaving the island soon and looking for an apartment, furniture, having the electricity turned on," Ryan said. "This is an amazing community that supports each other. There's so much more than just tuition and this island made all this possible."

"Ryan is an amazing kid and I am very proud him," Sheryl said. "He has excelled at everything he has ever set his mind to. I am also very proud to be a Pine Islander. The scholarships Ryan received played a huge role in Ryan being able to live out his dreams, and I will be forever grateful to all who have contributed to making that happen."



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