Only months into his studies at UCF, Computer Science major Clayton Barham is already working with Associate Professor Niels da Vitoria Lobo to develop an algorithm for facial recognition software.

Barham is one of 79 outstanding freshmen who make up the inaugural class of Provost Scholars, a new program that recognizes incoming students’ academic excellence and boundless potential.

“I’m looking forward to getting more involved with research, and I think the Provost Scholars program can help with that,” he said. “The scholarship really makes a difference.”

Barham is among the 69 students enrolled in the Burnett Honors College through the program, which is a partnership among the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, the Honors College and Undergraduate Admissions.

Students were selected for the invitation-only recognition because of their soaring academic records and outstanding extracurricular activities. The group has an average SAT score of 1435 and an average high school GPA of 4.37.

Among the top 10 percent of students at UCF, Provost Scholars are encouraged to get involved with research and establish connections with faculty members and other students. Through the program, they’ll be offered academic enrichment and opportunities to excel on campus and beyond.

As Provost Scholars, students also receive a generous scholarship each year for up to four years.

“The intent of the Provost Scholars was to attract the highest-achieving students to UCF,” said UCF Provost and Executive Vice President Tony G. Waldrop. “This inaugural class has the stellar credentials we desire in our honors students and future leaders.”