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Saint Ignatius High School

Rithvik Ayyagari ’22 Awarded Believe in Ohio STEM Scholarship

Rithvik Ayyagari ’22 was recently named a Believe in Ohio STEM Scholarship Recipient for his contributions to a research publication at Case Western Reserve University.

Rithvik Ayyagari ’22 is among 46 students from 41 high schools throughout Ohio recognized for their contributions to STEM innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Funded by the State of Ohio through the Department of Higher Education and operated as a program of The Ohio Academy of Science, Believe in Ohio is a STEM innovation and scholarship program that helps prepare students for the future by increasing their engagement in the learning process through STEM and entrepreneurship. Each Believe in Ohio scholarship recipient will receive a $1,000 scholarship to attend an Ohio college or university of their choice. 

Ayyagari was named a scholarship recipient for his contributions to a recent research publication at Case Western Reserve University. The main focus of the project was finding the evolving connection between Alzheimer’s Disease and retinal degeneration. 

“Using a cow’s eye, we conducted a series of western blots, which is a type of experiment. We found that the proteins in Alzheimer's were the same proteins found in the eye affected by glaucoma,” Ayyagari explains. “Our hypothesis was ultimately proven that there is a link between the two.”

In addition to his lab experience at Case Western, the extracurricular opportunities and science courses at Saint Ignatius have helped Ayyagari’s passion for science grow stronger. 

“I have been a part of the Health Sciences Program since freshman year. It has exposed me to the different aspects of the medical field through various guest speakers, such as surgeons and radiologists. It has definitely increased my fascination with science in general,” says Ayyagari.

“I’d also say that the science courses at Ignatius have helped me become a better student. Specifically, Mr. Popelka and Mr. Savastano’s classes have challenged me and opened my eyes to the world of STEM.” 

“I’ve watched Rithvik grow in confidence and demeanor in the lab and as a science student. He is calm, cool and collected, and always willing to contribute. His strong work ethic and positive attitude will set him up for success,” says Science teacher Guy Savastano.

Ayyagari has dreams to pursue a career in neuroscience and is grateful for the influence of Saint Ignatius High School, as well as the various research opportunities he has taken advantage of throughout his high school experience thus far.

Learn more about science at Saint Ignatius