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US chemistry Olympiad team heads to Paris

4 high school students will compete internationally for medals

by Linda Wang
June 14, 2019

 

20190614lnp1-olympiad.jpg
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
Anton Ni (from left), Edward Jin, Albert Liu, and Yajvan Ravan will represent the US at the International Chemistry Olympiad.

Four high school students are heading to Paris to represent the US in the 51st International Chemistry Olympiad, which will be held on July 21–30.

The US team was finalized at the conclusion of the Chemistry Olympiad Study Camp this week at the University of Maryland, College Park. The study camp was organized by the American Chemical Society and sponsored by Chemours.

The traveling team consists of Edward Jin, who just graduated from Arnold O. Beckman High School in California; Albert Liu, who just graduated from North Hollywood High School in California; Anton Ni, who just graduated from University High School in California; and Yajvan Ravan, a rising junior at Churchill High School in Detroit.

The first alternate is Allen Ding, a rising senior at Stevenson High School in Illinois. The second alternate is Yannik Singh, a rising senior at Carmel High School in Indiana.

“When we announced the final four, I got a little emotional,” says head mentor, Patrick Chan, a chemistry teacher at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in New York. “I’m very very proud of them, they are far above my expectations.”

Chan says this year’s team is extremely strong in their theoretical knowledge, and he has high hopes for the international competition in Paris. “I want to continue the great history and tradition of the US team,” he says. “Hopefully we can get four golds.” The US team has scored four golds in the past two competitions.

“It still is kind of surreal, says Liu of making the team. “So many hours and so much effort put into this and seeing it pay off, it’s really great.”

Jin says he is looking forward to meeting chemistry students from around the world. “It’s really exciting to be able to bond over chemistry,” he says.

Ni says the study camp experience helped him feel much more comfortable working in a lab.

Chan notes that this year’s study camp program placed a particular emphasis on connecting chemistry with the real world. In addition to the chemistry lectures and lab practicals, students heard talks by chemists from industry, academia, and government. For example, a scientist from NASA spoke with the students about research on the ozone layer. And a chemist from industry spoke about their career path.

“It showed me how versatile having knowledge in chemistry, that it can really be applied anywhere,” says Ravan. “By knowing chemistry, I can now apply my knowledge any other field and improve it.”

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Comments
Kathleen Parson (June 19, 2019 2:56 PM)
It is extremely disappointing to see an all male team representing the USA again in this year's Chemistry Olympiad. From the photos at the end of the article it would appear there have been only two females of the 12 students on the past three teams. Have efforts been made to encourage and facilitate more inclusiveness? As noted in the article, the mentoring and other opportunities provided to the team members certainly enhance the likelihood the students will continue their STEM education. There continues to be a recognized need to focus on diversity among professional chemists.
K V (June 19, 2019 3:02 PM)
Congratulations to these young scholars! I just read your article on "manels" and the photo struck as we also lack gender diversity in our Olympiad team. Is there a way to build in that diversity so that as early as the high school level we aren't leaving the female scholars behind?

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