Twenty U.S. high school student finalists compete for International Chemistry Olympiad team

— Note to media: your state has a student finalist, see list below!

Washington, May 16, 2011 — Twenty of the nation’s top high school chemistry students, representing 10 states, will compete for a spot on the U.S. team bound for the 43rd annual International Chemistry Olympiad, which will be held in Ankara, Turkey, July 9-18, 2011. In 2012, the International Chemistry Olympiad will be held at the University of Maryland July 21-30.

Historically, the U.S. team, which is sponsored by the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, has been a strong competitor at the international event. In 2010, the U.S. team had one of its best years; team members won two gold medals, one silver, and one bronze. In 2009, the U.S. team won a gold medal and three silver medals. In 1999 and 2000, the U.S. team won the top gold medal.

“ACS is proud to announce these 20 Olympiad finalists –– young men and women who have demonstrated profound knowledge and skill in the chemical sciences –– truly they are our scientific promise for the future,” said ACS President Nancy B. Jackson, Ph.D. “In 2011, the International Year of Chemistry, the Chemistry Olympiad holds even more meaning for the scores of young chemists who will gather from around the world. Students will not only compete in graduate-level science with the best and the brightest of their peers, but they will have an opportunity celebrate just how important chemistry is in solving global problems such as creating medicines, providing clean drinking water for all people, and developing innovative materials that inspire new products and new economies.”

The 20 U.S. finalists who will compete for positions on the Olympiad team are:

City/State Name High School
Arcadia, Calif. Timothy Lee* Arcadia High School
Cerritos, Calif. Joe Tung** Gretchen Whitney High School
Fremont, Calif. I-Ling Chiang Mission San Jose High School
Fremont, Calif. Zhuoran Zhang Mission San Jose High School
San Diego, Calif. Jason Ge Westview High School
Folsom, Calif. Sriram Pendyala* Mira Loma High School
San Diego, Calif. Raymond Wu Canyon Crest Academy
Naperville, Ill. Nolan Maloney Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy
Carmel, Ind. Rebecca Chen Park Tudor School
Columbia, Md. Joe Wan Wilde Lake High School
North Potomac, Md. Kevin Yan* Wootton High School
Boxborough, Mass. Ruifan Pei Acton-Boxborough Regional High School
West Windsor, N.J. Benjamin Liu West Winsor Plainsboro High School
Edison, N.J. Elmer Tan* John P. Stevens High School
Scarsdale, N.Y. Andrew Guo Scarsdale High School
Vestal, N.Y. Tayyab Shah Vestal High School
Broadview Heights, Ohio Cindy Zhao Brecksville-Broadview High School
Chalfont, Pa. Richard Wang* Central Buck South High School
Wexford, Pa. Konstantin Borisov* North Alleghany High School
Katy, Texas Nicolas Ayllon Katy High School

* participated in the 2010 UNSCO study camp

**participated in the 2009 and 2010 USNCO study camp

Eighteen boys and two girls, chosen from a pool of more than 11,000 high school students nationwide, will spend May 31-June 15 preparing at a study camp at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. During the camp, the students will receive college-level training, with an emphasis on organic chemistry, through a series of lectures, problem-solving exercises, lab work, and testing.

The 2011 finalists will be mentored by chemistry teachers Kristin Fletcher, Chromatic Technologies, Colo.; Steve Lantos, Brookline High School, Mass.; Kelli Slunt, University of Mary Washington, Va., and peer mentor, Brian Lee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mass.

At the conclusion of the study camp, a four-member U.S. team and two alternates will be chosen to participate in the international contest that will include teams from more than 68 other countries. Each country sends four contestants and two coaches to the host country for nine days of exams, lectures, recreation, and tours.

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

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


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Rachael Bishop