Alumni Fund Biology Scholarship
Born and raised in Stuart, Florida, Clay Scherer, ’94, is a third generation Floridian. Growing up in one of the most ecologically diverse places in the world, he enjoyed the outdoors and developed an appreciation for nature. Clay and his wife Juliann recognize the importance of natural history in today’s education of biologists and want to make sure students continue to recognize it for years to come.
On November 20, 2015, Clay Scherer and Juliann Hickey, ’95, entered an agreement with UCF, making a charitable donation of $26,000 to create the Professor Walter K. Taylor Undergraduate Scholarship in Natural History.
This scholarship will help fund education expenses and provide awards to students in the College of Sciences majoring in biology. Clay explained he created the scholarship, “to give back to an institution that developed me and prepared me so well for my ultimate career and professional life.”
With this scholarship, Clay and Juliann said they hope “…to provide financial support to a deserving student, to encourage students to pursue their interests in Natural History, while, in some small way, recognizing the enormous contributions of a faculty member.”
Clay graduated from UCF with a B.S. in biology in 1994. He went on to graduate school at University of Florida where he earned his M.S. and Ph.D. in entomology. During Clay’s time at UCF he stated that he was, like many students, not exactly sure of what he wanted to do in life, “but the staff at the Biology Department, through rigorous course work, independent study, and field trips, prepared me very well to be a professional scientist.”
A key individual who influenced Clay during his time at UCF was Walter K. Taylor, Ph.D., namesake to the scholarship. “He was a major mentor,” states Clay, “and I hope all undergraduate students experience this kind of relationship with professors/teachers as it is critical in encouraging and supporting you to pursue your individual interests.”
Clay is currently the global technical manager for the lawn and garden business of Syngenta. He is based at the global headquarters of Syngenta in Basel, Switzerland. There they develop new products to help control insect pests such as ants, cockroaches, termites, flies, fleas and mosquitoes. Living in Switzerland allows Clay and Juliann to spend their free time traveling Europe, visiting world-renowned museums and hiking outdoors.
Clay continues to believe it is the “professors at UCF, the humans, that have the impact on the student experience.” He hopes this scholarship will help the department and its faculty not to forget the importance and value of natural history education.