Calif., NJ, NY, Pa. students bring home gold and silver medals from International Chemistry Olympiad

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2011 — Two gold medals and two silver medals — the U.S. team competed very successfully against 269 students from 69 countries in the 43rd International Chemistry Olympiad, the American Chemical Society (ACS) announced today. The international competition was held July 9-18 in Ankara, Turkey. In addition to the medals, team member Joe Tung of Cerritos, Calif., was selected to deliver a speech to his peers during the opening ceremony.

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Joan Coyle

The four students were selected from an original pool of more than 12,000 high school chemistry students who vied to be on the team. The final 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 the Middle Eastern Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. When the U.S. team returns home, they will be invited to meet with the offices of their representatives in Congress.

Joe Tung, Cerritos, Calif., Gretchen Whitney High School
Joe Tung won a gold medal and placed 24th overall in the competition. About the experience, Joe said, “I feel that even more significant than all the top medals we won this year were the people we met and the cross cultural experiences that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. We tried unique Turkish cuisines, visited memorable tourist attractions, and learned from each other. Our successes reflect the hard work and dedication of our team mentors, USAFA professors, and the ACS.” Joe, 18, graduated from Gretchen Whitney High School and plans to study molecular biology and biophysics at Yale University and wants to become a doctor. He also enjoys playing the piano and tennis.

Konstantin Borisov, Wexford, Pa., North Allegheny High School
Kostya, 17, won a gold medal at the Olympiad and was 9th in the total ranking. He graduated from North Allegheny High School and plans to study chemistry, math and molecular biology at the University of Pittsburgh to become a medical researcher, “preferably researching cancer,” he says. He also enjoys swimming and playing the piano.

Tayyab Shah, Vestal, N.Y., Vestal High School
Tayyab brought home a silver medal and placed 80th among the 273 participants. “It was a great honor and a fulfilling experience. It was also very demanding and it pushes your limits,” said Tayyab. “I was excited to earn a silver medal and it was an honor to see my hard work pay off.” He graduated from Vestal High School, and plans to study chemistry and mathematics at Princeton University and eventually become a doctor.

Elmer Tan, Edison, N.J., John P. Stevens High School
Elmer also won a silver medal and placed 48th in the total ranking. Elmer, who turned 17 on the Fourth of July, will be a senior at John P. Stevens High School next year where he enjoys playing in the band.

“ACS is especially proud of the 2011 U.S. Chemistry Olympiad team. They successfully competed in graduate-level science with the best and the brightest of their peers from around the world,” said ACS President Nancy B. Jackson, Ph.D. “In this International Year of Chemistry, the Olympiad is even more meaningful as we celebrate the importance of chemistry in solving global problems.”

In past Olympiads, the U.S. team has been a strong competitor at the international event. In 2010, the U.S. Team won two gold medals, one silver, and one bronze. In 2009, the U.S. team won a gold medal and three silver medals. In 2008, they brought home one silver and three bronze medals.

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; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; McGraw-Hill Companies; Merck Publishing Group; Pearson Prentice Hall; Sigma Aldrich Co.; Texas Instruments, Inc.; and University Science Books.


L-R Tayyab Shah, Elmer Tan, Joe Tung, Konstantin