Chemistry Olympiad Mentors

Become a Chemistry Olympiad College Mentor!

College and university chemistry teachers are invited to apply for a position as mentor for the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad program for the 2019-2021 term. Successful applicants are expected to have background in one or more of the areas of organic, inorganic, analytical, physical, or biochemistry with classroom experience, and should demonstrate involvement with students in special projects or activities. 

Applicants must be prepared to make a three-year term commitment. ACS pays all reasonable expenses and travel costs, as well as an honorarium.

Interested individuals should submit a 2019-2021-USNCO College Mentor Application and CV.

The deadline to submit an application is February 2, 2018.

Applicants must also arrange to send three letters of recommendation directly to Cecilia Hernandez, Assistant Director Student Experiences, Education Division, at USNCO@acs.org by February 16, 2018

For additional information please contact: Margaret Thatcher, Project Manager, at USNCO@acs.org or 202-872-6328.

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

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.

SAMPLE MENTOR'S SCHEDULE

December
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.

March/April
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.

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

July
Mentors accompany Team USA to the International Chemistry Olympiad competition.

Mentor assisting a Study Camp student in laboratory, 2009