Prior to SSF, Joseph Briggs lived in Crawfordville, FL, just outside of Tallahassee. In 2013, he joined the SSF family as a resident in the Hawksley II Scholarship House, while attending the University of Florida to pursue a degree in chemical engineering. As a junior and senior, Joseph served as the House Manager for the Hartman Kiwanis Scholarship House, where he experienced one of his favorite SSF moments, “One of my favorite memories from my time at SSF was making our house video my junior year. We had the whole house participate and took a full afternoon going different places making different scenes and it was a great bonding day having the whole house together working on something.”
With a full schedule and a difficult slate of classes, Joseph’s housemates were an important driving factor that helped him succeed:
“The most direct way I think SSF impacted my life was providing the support system I needed to excel during my time at UF. I did not choose the easiest route during my time at UF picking one of the toughest majors to tackle along with being on a sports team that demanded training 6 days a week with multiple out of town events each semester. The beginning of my first semester at UF, there was a senior in my Hawksley II house about to finish his degree in chemical engineering and he gave me just about every book I would need for the next 4 years, as well as invaluable advice about navigating the classes and professors from his experiences. Then when I entered the upper level tougher classes, I became an HM of an entirely new house. Some may think that would be more stress to add but I believe having a whole house behind me was the main thing that pushed me threw it. Our house was there for each other picking anyone up that was low and pushing each other further. Having a place to come back to that felt like home after a long night in the library or a hard practice is something I feel extremely lucky to have had during my time in college. Without my housemates and friends in SSF I would not have been able to graduate senior year with honors in chemical engineering and medal at rowing nationals for the first time in the university’s history.”
Following graduation, Joseph joined the Peace Corps and became a chemistry teacher in Liberia, West Africa. This experience was challenging yet rewarding and helped Joseph grow in areas like patience, compassion, empathy and determination. After leaving Africa, Joseph worked as a chemical engineer for an environmental consulting firm in Tampa and will soon begin his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at Colorado School of Mines. Currently, Joseph serves on the Board of Directors for Southern Scholarship Foundation!