Reynolds, Wicker receive PVHS biotech scholarships


Of the many Ponte Vedra High School seniors that received awards and scholarship recognition during the school’s annual awards night on May 16, two were handed out scholarships with a focus on biotechnology.

Sarah Wicker and Mary Kate Reynolds both came up on stage to receive scholarships they earned through their hard work and dedication within the PVHS Academy of Biotechnology and Medical Research.

Wicker received the Pham Biotechnology Scholarship, while Reynolds was awarded the Parrish Biotechnology Scholarship.

Reynolds will be attending the University of Florida and chose it because of the school’s focus on STEM and being known for having excellent agriculture and biotechnology departments.

“I just loved the school, and it was always important for me to stay here in Florida,” Reynolds said. “They have so many good undergraduate programs and because I have this biotechnology certification that they allowed me to get in this academy, I can go in and do undergrad research as a freshman or sophomore. I’m hoping to utilize that.”

Both have been in the program and worked toward the scholarship during their last four years of high school and have developed such a passion for the field that they are now ready to turn their attention toward a possible career in the growing industry.

“A lot of what we’ve learned in the academy is very cutting edge, because biotech is a field that was just formed I believe in the ‘90s, so a lot of what we work with is very new,” Wicker said. “It’s the future of modern genetics and modern biology so to be at the forefront of that scientific expansion is what gave me my passion to do research.”

Wicker will be attending Wellesley College in Massachusetts and she is leaning towards focusing on the route of biomedical engineering. She will also be playing softball at the college.

Parents, teachers and fellow classmates may understand the sacrifice and hard work that has gone into getting to this point, but for someone outside of her inner circle to recognize it takes it to another level for Wicker.

“I’ve always been good at this class because it’s something I love learning about, but the recognition for all your hard work is also something that I’m enterally grateful for,” Wicker said.

As for many seniors, the awards ceremony was just the next step as they prepare for their next journey in life as they head off to college in the fall.

“I’m a little bit nervous to head off to college, but I know I’m well prepared for what’s to come,” Reynolds said.