The Talent Search program identifies and assists individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who have the potential to succeed in higher education. The program provides academic, career, and financial counseling to its middle school and high school participants encouraging them to graduate from high school and continue on to and complete their postsecondary education.

Services include but are not limited to: 

  • Academic and career exploration workshops
  • College visits and preparation sessions
  • Family events 
  • Assistance with the college and financial aid processes

Eligibility Requirements

  • Enrollment at participating Lake or Sumter County middle school (Carver, Oak Park, Umatilla, Gray, Windy Hill, South Sumter, Wildwood)
  • Enrollment at participating Lake or Sumter County high school (Leesburg, Umatilla, South Lake, East Ridge, South Sumter, Wildwood)
  • Low-income household as defined by federal TRIO regulations
  • Parents or guardians must not hold a bachelor’s degree or higher (associate’s okay)
  • GPA 3.0 or higher

There are three easy ways to apply:

Print and mail to us at:
Talent Search, Lake-Sumter State College, 9501 US Hwy 441, Leesburg, FL 34788

Paper applications may be obtained from the guidance office at our selected schools or at Lake-Sumter State College’s Educational Opportunity Programs office

Talent Search Managers

Daniel Terry

Mr. Daniel Terry is a 2005 graduate of the LSSC’s Upward Bound Program. He obtained his General Studies degree from LSSC and BA in Legal Studies from the University of Central Florida. Immediately after graduation he worked as a Paralegal and Child Protective Investigator for the Department of Children and Families. From humble beginnings, he overcame many obstacles in his pursuit for higher education. His challenges in his personal and educational pursuits have made him a relatable, positive and dedicated role model for the students served in the Trio programs.

Location: Leesburg Campus
Phone: 352-365-3543
Fax: 352-435-5012

Target Schools:
Umatilla Middle
Carver Middle
Oak Park Middle
Eustis High School
Leesburg High School
Umatilla High School

Maribel Torres

Maribel Torres is the Talent Search Manager in the South Lake area with a decade of successful experience working with TRIO Programs. She graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s of Art in Psychology and a Masters in Education with a major in Guidance Counseling. She is bilingual in Spanish and English and has a diverse professional experience in fields related to academic advising, mentoring, and self-discovering.  Maribel was the first in her family to attend college and knows how exciting is to potentially be the first person in the family to earn a college degree. She is eager to share her experiences and help students reach their goals and pursue a college education.

Location: South Lake Campus
Phone: 352-536-2107
Fax: 352-243-0117

Target Schools:
Windy Hill Middle
East Ridge High
Gray Middle
South Lake High

Sonja G. Sanders

Sonja G. Sanders is currently the TRIO Talent Search Manager at Lake Sumter State College and has been a member of the LSSC Family since 2005. Sonja has been active with the TRIO Community for 10 years. A former Finance Manager, Sonja came to the Educational Opportunity Programs department with leadership development, research for scholarships, and mentoring experience to advocate and educate for the voiceless.Sonja is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., where she has served in the capacity of Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer and Chaired the Finance Committee to the Leesburg Alumnae Chapter. This organizations focus is providing community service and education to the local community. Sonja holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Mississippi Valley State University. Sonja believes access to education is a RIGHT, not a privilege, and one of her favorite quotes by Michelle Obama is “There is no magic to achievement.  It is really about hard work, choices and persistence.”

Location: Sumter Center
Phone: 352-568-0001 Ext. 1005 Email: SandersS@LSSC.EDU
Fax: 352-568-7515

Target Schools:
South Sumter Middle School
South Sumter High School
Wildwood Middle High School