RSI 2017 Rickover Award

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Student Chosen for Prestigious Rickover Award at
34th annual Research Science Institute


McLean, VA (August 9, 2017) –  Syamantak Payra, a senior at Clear Brook HS in Friendswood, TX, was chosen by his peers for the top honor—Rickoid of the Year—at the Center for Excellence in Education’s (CEE) 34th annual Research Science Institute (RSI).  The award recognizes academic acumen, leadership and personal demeanor, and is named for the late Admiral H.G. Rickover, father of the nuclear Navy and a founder of CEE.

Payra was one of 80 top achieving U.S. high school and international scholars selected for RSI, an intensive, six-week summer program jointly sponsored by CEE and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  RSI gives students the opportunity to conduct original, cutting-edge science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) research in state-of-the-art university laboratories, hospitals and corporate research facilities in Boston and Cambridge, MA, at no cost to the students.  Payra’s summer research focused on the synthesis of nanoscale materials on titanium surfaces to improve the performance of artificial hearts.     

“CEE’s Research Science Institute has opened up unparalleled opportunities that I would not have had anywhere else,” said Payra.  “I am honored to be doing research in a field with so much potential to help people.”  Payra noted that nearly 30 percent of infants that receive artificial hearts experience potentially debilitating strokes.  “I hope that one day my research with others in this field will help to save patient lives.”

CEE President and founder Joann P. DiGennaro said that Payra is a model student.  “Syamantak has qualities that others want to emulate,” said DiGennaro.  “To be chosen as Rickoid of the Year is an honor that he should hold in high regard for the rest of his life.  I’m certain that Syamantak’s bright young mind will make an impact in his field.”

RSI is offered to competitively selected top achieving students in STEM. Students are selected by CEE’s committee of professional educators and RSI alumni based on high school records, personal essays, standardized test scores, teacher recommendations, research experience, potential for leadership, and honors and awards in math and science. 

Syamantak now joins CEE’s nearly 2,800 successful alumni with a STEM career retention rate of 80 percent.  CEE alumni enjoy referral, networking and enrichment activities throughout their collegiate and professional careers.

The 2017 RSI summer program (June 25 to Aug. 5) consisted of one week of theoretical classroom work, followed by four-and-a-half weeks of high-level research under the mentorship of leading scientists, engineers, and researchersin the students’ respective areas of interest.  In their final week, students demonstrated their research work through written academic papers and oral presentations to their peers and a panel of judges.

In addition to 50 U.S. high school rising seniors, 30 international students participated this summer from Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, India, Lebanon, Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

About the Center for Excellence in Education
The Center for Excellence in Education was founded in 1983 by the late Admiral H.G. Rickover and Joann P. DiGennaro, President of the Center. The Center's mission is to nurture high school and university scholars to careers of excellence and leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and to encourage collaboration between and among leaders in the global community. CEE’s programs include the Research Science Institute (RSI), the USA Biology Olympiad (USABO), and the Teacher Enrichment Program (TEP).  

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