Eric Rykard, a Madison County High School (MCHS) student has a talented career ahead of him as he has proven himself in another science competition.
Previously, Rykard attended the Suwannee Valley Regional Science Fair in Lake City, Fl. on Feb. 17 and 18 along with 13 other students from MCHS.
Coming from that competition, Rykard was awarded the opportunity to take his place competing at I-SWEEP (International Sustainable World Energy Engineering and Environmental Project Olympiad) in Houston, Tx. after he was the recipient of the award for Best Senior Division Science Project.
Following his success in the regional science fair, Rykard and four other students moved on the statewide fair.
After competing in the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida from March 29 through March 31, when Rykard was the only student to walk away with an award in hand as he placed fourth in his category of Animal Sciences.
Fast-forward to April 26; Rykard attended the I-SWEEP competition, going up against hundreds of other student competitors who were representing 65 various countries. Every state in the United States had representatives and Rykard was one of the 20 Florida competitors.
Rykard’s category of Environmental Management and Pollution had 140 students also vying to win; five of which (including Rykard) were from Florida.
The I-SWEEP is a groundbreaking science fair competition that is open to high school students and is the largest of its kind.
It works with local, national and international science fair organizations to bring together the top-ranking participants and qualifying projects from these competitors. The mission of I-SWEEP is “to create a collaborative yet competitive environment in which students can present their innovative ideas to take on today's challenges in energy, engineering and environment which will ensure a sustainable world for tomorrow.”
Competing at I-SWEEP offered plenty of challenge and the possibility of failure for Rykard, but instead of walking away in shame, Rykard competed with skill and left Houston with two awards in hand.
Rykard was awarded the Korean Science Service 2016 Special Award to acknowledge his excellent display of work and research on his project; the award also included a $300 monetary prize. Only three out of 600 competitors were given this special award. Rykard was also awarded a gold medal after placing top in his division. The gold medal was only awarded to the top 10 percent of projects in his category and included a $750 monetary award; overall, Rykard took home two awards and $1,050 in monetary prizes.
“What a great adventure and honor for [Rykard] to participate in this huge event,” wrote Rykard’s mother, Carol Rykard. “This was truly an incredible experience and we want to say ‘thank you’ to all those who helped make this trip a reality.”
“I’m glad I got the chance to go [to the I-SWEEP Competition],” said Eric Rykard.