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ACS News

2023 International Chemistry Olympiad team revealed

by Nina Notman, special to C&EN
June 21, 2023


Six smiling high school students stand in front of ACS Education banners.
Credit: Sri Balasubramanian/ACS staff
Sebastian Kumar (from left), Mingwen Duan, Alice Liu, Anurag Sodhi, Phoenix Wu, and Brian Li will represent the US in the 2023 International Chemistry Olympiad.

The team that will represent the US at the 55th International Chemistry Olympiad, to be held July 16–25 in Zurich, Switzerland, has been announced. The four high school students will compete against teams from around 90 countries.

The 2023 team consists of Mingwen Duan from East Lyme High School in Connecticut, Alice Liu from Marquette High School in Missouri, Anurag Sodhi from Centennial High School in Maryland, and Phoenix Wu from Seven Lakes High School in Texas. The first alternate is Sebastian Kumar from Tesla STEM High School in Washington State. The second alternate is Brian Li from Acton-Boxborough Regional High School in Massachusetts.

The team was chosen from the 20 students who participated in the Chemistry Olympiad Study Camp, which was held at the University of Maryland, College Park, June 4–17. The best thing about the camp for Sodhi was “meeting different people from across the country who are not only enthusiastic about chemistry but also about problem solving and doing challenging things.” Liu concurs, adding that “I also really enjoyed the lectures and laboratory activities. The experience has just been amazing from start to finish.”

In Zurich, the US students will compete in written and practical exams alongside students from other nations. Wu was also on the US team for the 2022 International Chemistry Olympiad, which was held online. “I am both excited and nervous about the practical portions [in this year’s competition] since that was missing in last year’s International Chemistry Olympiad,” he says.

The students will also have time for sightseeing, to explore Swiss science universities and institutes, to participate in panel discussions about careers and entrepreneurship in chemistry, and to get to know competitors from other nations. “It’ll be similar to camp in that the best part will be getting to meet the other people, except this time it is not from all around the country, it is from around the world,” says Duan.

“I think there is a great chance we will get four gold medals this year,” says Esther Hines, head team mentor from Billerica Memorial High School in Massachusetts. Three additional mentors will accompany the team to Zurich: Joseph Houck from Pennsylvania State University, Laura Serbulea from University of Virginia; and Songwen Xie from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

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