SMA Prep’s “OutBreak!” Receives Voya Unsung Heroes® Grant

SARASOTA, FL. August 24, 2017Sarasota Military Academy Prep, a public charter, middle school and authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, providing students with a 21st-century learning experience immersed in daily military principles of honor, respect, and leadership, announced that SMA Prep has received the Voya  Unsung Heroes® Grant for 2017. SMA Prep was one of only 100 chosen for the $2,000 grant.

Voya explains why they chose SMA Prep out of 10,000 applicants: “The innovative teaching idea, “Outbreak!,” focuses on challenging students to solve a real-world simulated infectious disease outbreak and to understand the impact it has on a global community. SMA Prep cadets will partner with other schools and be immersed in a multiple campus-wide infectious disease outbreak in which students will serve as different affected populations, including government officials, triage doctors, and the media.

The scenario will mimic the historical and contemporary spread of an infectious disease in which the various groups will have to work together against the clock to stop the contagion before it kills the general population of the school campuses. SMA-MAJ Brown and his team of teachers believe that by exposing students to the worldwide problems associated with coping with infectious disease outbreaks, it will heighten society’s ability to effectively manage future outbreaks while developing students’ investigative, communication and risk-taking skills.”

Also, unique to the “Outbreak!” simulation is the partnership the project has with Harvard Professor and infectious disease researcher Dr. Pardis Sabeti. SMA Prep is proud to be a part of Dr. Sabeti’s work in K12 education and her research. “Outbreak!” and the opportunity to work with Dr. Sabeti also promotes a campus-wide initiative, Project Earth, that exposes cadets to authentic scenarios involving environmental science and the positive impact they can have on the world around them.

Out of the 100 winners of the $2,000 grant, three will be selected as top winners to receive additional grants of $25,000, $10,000, and $5,000. SMA Prep. The school is hoping to celebrate being in the final three.

About Sarasota Military Academy

Founded in 2002, Sarasota Military Academy is a public charter, middle school, and high school located in Sarasota, FL. As an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, SMA provides students with a 21st-century learning experience immersed in daily military principles of honor, respect, and leadership. Combining extraordinary academics with the highest military principles of camaraderie, focus, leadership, integrity, compassion, poise, honor, and respect, SMA’s mission is to graduate young men and women who will confidently define their personal and unique goals for success in a multicultural and globalized world. More information is available at

About Dr. Pardis Sabeti

Dr. Pardis Sabeti is a Professor at the Center for Systems Biology and Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and the Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease at the Harvard School of Public Health. She is an Institute Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and a Howard Hughes Investigator. For more information visit

About Project Earth

Project Earth is a student and faculty-driven collaborative effort spearheaded by Agri-Science, the Interact Club, and Project Inspire. Our goal is to become an Eco-School, a new certification backed by the National Wildlife Federation. It is a seven-step process that requires audits in twelve sustainable categories such as water consumption, energy use, and campus biodiversity. The certification would be a year-long effort that would promote environmental awareness of the cadets and a chance to lessen the carbon footprint of our school. To find out more about upcoming speakers go to Project Earth

About Voya Unsung Heroes® Grant

Our children’s education focus is guided by research and experience. We believe that the most impactful programs that help prepare youth for the 21st century workforce start early and provide participants with hands-on, experiential STEM learning opportunities. For that reason, we support organizations that fund high quality, experiential STEM learning opportunities for children in grades K-8. Visit Voya Unsung Heroes® Grants for more information.