Md., N.Y., N. J. and Conn. students bring home gold medals from International Chemistry Olympiad

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2010 — Two gold medals, one silver, and one bronze –– the U.S. team competed very successfully against 267 students from 68 countries in the 42nd International Chemistry Olympiad, the American Chemical Society (ACS) announced today. The international competition was held July 19-28 in Tokyo, Japan.

The four U.S. students were selected from an original pool of more than 11,000 high school chemistry students who vied to be on the team. These four emerged after a two-week training camp held for the 20 student finalists in mid-June at the U.S. Air Force Academy. ACS, the world’s largest scientific society, sponsors the U.S. team along with additional support from other partners.

The medals were presented to winners in ceremonies at Waseda University. Alexander Siegenfeld of Westport, Conn., and Colin Lu, of Vestal, N.Y., both won gold medals. Richard Li, of Clarksville, Md., won a silver medal and Utsarga Sikder, of Monmouth Junction, N.J., won a bronze medal. Lu also served on the U.S. team for the International Chemistry Olympiad in 2009, winning a silver medal.

Colin Lu, Vestal, N.Y., Vestal High School, gold medal. Lu, 18, who also served on the U.S. team for the International Chemistry Olympiad in 2009, and won a silver medal then, plans to attend Yale University in the fall of 2010. His extracurricular activities include playing piano, tennis and learning languages. He also swims competitively.

Alexander Siegenfeld, Westport, Conn., Hopkins School, gold medal. Siegenfeld, 17, will be a senior in high school this fall. He participates on his school's math and science Olympiad teams. He also takes piano lessons and occasionally composes a song or two. His hobbies include reading “random things” about chemistry/science, playing chess, playing bridge and occasionally playing tennis or table tennis.

Richard Li, Clarksville, Md., River Hill High School, silver medal. Li, 18, will attend Stanford University this fall. He plans to double major in chemistry and business. He was named a Presidential Scholar in 2010, headed his high school’s Science Olympiad Team this year, which went to national level competition, captained the jumping squad of his school’s track & field team, and has played violin for as long as he can remember. In his spare time, he enjoys doing car modifications and upgrading his stereo system, and is deeply immersed in hip-hop culture. He enjoys traveling across America and would like to someday visit every country in the world.

Utsarga Sikder, Monmouth Junction, N.J., South Brunswick High School, bronze medal. Sikder, 16, will be a high school senior this fall. In 2010, he hopes to learn more chemistry, dabble with some computer programming, and enjoy his final year of high school. He is a member of Junior Statesmen of America, a political debate club, and likes to run. His hobbies include playing video games, playing the piano, and learning new things.

The American Chemical Society has sponsored the American team annually since the U.S. joined the Olympiad. Principal funding is through the ACS’ Othmer Olympiad Endowment with additional support from the Air Force Academy; Advanced Chemistry Development; Carolina Biological Supply Company; Fisher Scientific; Flinn Scientific, Inc; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; McGraw-Hill Companies; Merck Publishing Group; Pearson Prentice Hall; Texas Instruments, Inc.; University Science Books; Sigma Aldrich Co. and Sorbent Technologies.