Zachary Rikard

My journey in science has been somewhat unique. I grew up in Hardy, Arkansas and, as a child, I was always fascinated with learning how things worked. I also loved music and band classes. This led me to pursue a career in music education. I got a BS in Music Education in 2011 from Arkansas State University and an MS in Educational Leadership in 2019 and worked as a band director for 9 years. While I loved music and working with students, I realized that I wanted to pursue a different path and so I left the classroom in 2021.

I headed back to school at Arkansas State in fall of 2022 to pursue a new career path. After spending some time in my science classes and exploring career options in the field, I decided to work towards a BS in Biotechnology. In the Spring 24 Semester, I started the Undergraduate Research Scholar Program and joined the Wijeratne Lab to learn and develop my skill set. I am currently exploring how certain bacteria help plants avoid pathogens.