N.J., Pa., N.D. students win four medals for U.S. Chemistry Olympiad team

The U.S. Chemistry Olympiad team won three silver medals and one bronze in the 38th annual International Chemistry Olympiad in Gyeongsan, Republic of Korea, July 2-11. The United States was among the countries that earned four medals –– along with China (tops with four gold), New Zealand, Great Britain, Canada, Russia, Taiwan and Denmark.

The U.S. team, made up of four of the nation’s top high school chemistry students, competed with teams from 66 other countries in the week-long event, sponsored by the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society. This year’s team included students from high schools in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and North Dakota.

“We couldn't be more pleased for the U.S. team,” said E. Ann Nalley, Ph.D., ACS president. “This is a tremendous accomplishment. They are among the future leaders in chemistry and their eagerness and innovative ideas give us confidence that our nation will continue to be competitive in science and technology."

The U.S. medalists are:

Michael Blaisse, Harrisburg, Pa. – Silver Medal — A 2006 graduate from Bishop McDevitt High School, Blaisse will be attending MIT this fall, majoring in either chemistry, chemical engineering or bioengineering. His extracurricular activities have included participating in the Intel Science Talent Search and the National Science Olympiad, playing the piano and taking part in musical productions.

Greg Brockman, Grand Forks, N.D. – Silver Medal –– He will be a senior this fall at Red River High School. Brockman’s extracurricular activities have included participating in the National Science Bowl and the drum corps at Red River High School. He has won several math awards.

Andrew Freddo, Colts Neck, N.J. – Silver Medal –– After graduating from Manalapan High School this year, Freddo will be attending the California Institute of Technology in the fall, planning to major in chemistry. He has participated in the New Jersey Science League, the U.S. Physics Olympiad and the New Jersey Governor’s School in the Sciences. He plays the piano and saxophone.

Alex Zozula, East Brunswick, N.J. – Bronze Medal –– He graduated from East Brunswick High School this year and will be attending Princeton University, where he plans to major in chemistry. Zozula’s extracurricular activities have included participating in the National Science Bowl and the Science Olympiad and building computers.

The U.S. team is routinely a strong competitor at the International Chemistry Olympiad. In 2005, the team won three silver medals and one bronze. In 1999 and 2000, a member of the American team won the top gold medal. This year’s U.S. team members were selected at the conclusion of a comprehensive two-week study camp in June at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.

The International Chemistry Olympiad originated with Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary in 1968. Other eastern European countries soon joined the event, and Western Europe began participating in 1974. The first U.S. team competed in 1984, winning one silver and two bronze medals.

The American Chemical Society has sponsored the American team annually since the United States joined the Olympiad. Principal funding is through the Society’s Othmer Olympiad Endowment, with additional support from the U.S. Air Force Academy; IBM Research; Merck Publishing Group; Texas Instruments, Inc.; W.H. Freeman & Company; McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.; Advanced Chemistry Development; Thomson, Brooks/Cole; Carolina Biological Supply Company; Flinn Scientific, Inc.; Fisher Scientific; Pearson Prentice Hall; Sigma Chemical Company; and John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

For photos of U.S. team members and more information about them, please contact the person listed at the top of this release.