U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad competition selects America’s team

WASHINGTON, June 16, 2020 — The American Chemical Society (ACS) is proud to announce the team that will represent the U.S. in the 52nd International Chemistry Olympiad in July, when teams from around the world will compete for gold, silver and bronze medals. Originally scheduled to take place in Istanbul, Turkey, this year’s Olympiad will be held online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The four members of the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad (USNCO) team are:

  • Anugrah Chemparathy*, Dougherty Valley High School, San Ramon, Calif.
  • Alex Li**, Lexington High School, Lexington, Mass.
  • Ananthan Sadagopan*, Westborough High School, Westborough, Mass.
  • Alec Zhu*, Lexington High School, Lexington, Mass.

The two alternates are:

  • Nicholas Tsao*, St. Mark’s School of Texas, Dallas
  • Michael Han*, Dougherty Valley High School, San Ramon, Calif.

* Students who participated in 2019 USNCO Study Camp
** Student who participated in 2018 and 2019 USNCO Study Camp

U.S. Team Alpha Nu will be supported by these mentors:

  • Melissa Barranger Mathys, Ph.D., Ursuline College, Pepper Pike, Ohio, head mentor
  • Joseph Houck, Ph.D., Penn State University, University Park, Pa., college mentor
  • Esther Hines, Billerica Memorial High School, Billerica, Mass., high school mentor

After outscoring more than 16,000 others, 20 students earned an invitation to an intensive virtual study camp, where they received college-level training with an emphasis on organic chemistry through a series of lectures, problem-solving exercises and tests. At the conclusion of the camp, the four highest-scoring students made the USNCO team, Alpha Nu.

ACS has sponsored the American team annually since the U.S. joined the Olympiad in 1984. Principal funding is through the ACS Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Olympiad Endowment, with additional support from other donors. For a complete list of donors, visit

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 American Chemical Society (ACS) is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. ACS’ mission is to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people. The Society is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple research solutions, peer-reviewed journals, scientific conferences, eBooks and weekly news periodical Chemical & Engineering News. ACS journals are among the most cited, most trusted and most read within the scientific literature; however, ACS itself does not conduct chemical research. As a specialist in scientific information solutions (including SciFinder® and STN®), its CAS division powers global research, discovery and innovation. ACS’ main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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