Chemistry Olympiad Mentors

Apply for 2021-2023 College Mentor Position

The USNCO seeks a Chemistry Olympiad College Mentor.  Some of the duties and responsibilities associated with this position are:

a) conducting a two-week study camp for the nation’s brightest twenty chemistry high school students for the following years: 2021, 2022 and 2023,

b) developing practice problems, theoretical and practical tests for the study camp, possible lecturing on specific topics (high level, NOT general chemistry) and lab techniques

c) preparing students for the International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) competition, and assessing and selecting the USA team (together with the other mentors)

d) accompanying the U.S. team at the IChO in July.

Most students at the study camp have completed Advanced Placement Chemistry or the equivalent therefore instruction at the camp is well beyond the level of high school general chemistry courses. The curriculum also includes considerable laboratory work.

Successful applicants are expected to be college educators and have background in one or more of the areas of organic, inorganic, analytical, physical, or biochemistry with classroom experience. Applicants should demonstrate involvement with students in special projects or activities, be highly organized, disciplined and willing to work long hours if necessary. Interested individuals must be good team players and work well with the camp administration and other mentors. They must be able to make a full commitment to the camp and its activities. Outside distractions from work and personal life lead to a less effective camp and IChO, ideal candidates should have support to minimize these interruptions.

Applicants must be prepared to make a three-year term commitment.  ACS pays an honorarium and most expenses associated with the study camp and the IChO.

Questions? Contact Margaret Thatcher, Project Manager, at or 202-872-6328.

The deadline to submit an application is December 6, 2019.

Mentor assisting a Study Camp student in laboratory, 2009
Mentor assisting a Study Camp student in laboratory, 2009
  • Mentor Duties and Responsibilities

    Mentors play a vital role in preparing the nation’s brightest high school students to compete in the International Chemistry Olympiad. Each year, they guide the top 20 students from the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad at a study camp through a series of preparatory problems to test student skills and ultimately select the Team USA for the International Chemistry Olympiad competition.

    Mentors are high school teachers and college faculty who serve a 3-year term and receive an honorarium. ACS will provide mentors with a handbook containing detailed guidelines on duties and responsibilities. Most expenses associated with the study camp and the International Chemistry Olympiad are paid by ACS.

    Mentors might be required to attend two weekend meetings, one in the Spring to prepare the study camp, and another in late Summer during the ACS National Meeting to give a report on the study camp and IChO to the USNCO Subcommittee.

    A mentor’s first summer is spent at the study camp. For the second and third summer, mentors accompany competitors of the International Chemistry Olympiad, where they also serve as a member of the International Jury.

  • Pre-Study Camp Meeting

    Mentors attend a pre-study camp meeting (late March, early April) to prepare for the June study camp, which includes the tasks:

    • Develop practice problems, study guides and lesson plans in advance of the June study camp
    • Determine fair testing material to prepare students for the international competition
    • Determine daily schedules, faculty staffing and additional curriculum requirements for the study camp
  • Study Camp

    The two-week Olympiad study camp is held early in June.

    Mentors arrive two days before the camp begins to test experiments, check procedures, write instructions, determine what solutions need to be made and what glassware must be procured.

    During the camp, mentors and students become a family unit. All participants live in the same dorm facility, eat all meals together, and share bathrooms and telephones. Mentors are also expected to monitor and motivate the students to behave maturely and to achieve their potential during the study camp experience.


Mentors use preparatory problems provided by the host country of the International Chemistry Olympiad to narrow the scope of the testing material. The preparatory problems typically contain as many as 50 theoretical and 10 laboratory problems covering physical, inorganic, organic, analytical, industrial, environmental, and biochemistry.

Mentors attend a pre-study camp meeting (late March, early April) to meet the faculty, determine curriculum, practice tests, and daily schedules for the two-week camp.

Mentors attend the two-week Olympiad Study Camp to coach and turor students and select Team USA at the conclusion of the camp.

Mentors accompany Team USA to the International Chemistry Olympiad competition.