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US chemistry olympiad team heads to Paris

by Linda Wang
June 22, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 25


Photo of Anton Ni, Edward Jin, Albert Liu, and Yajvan Ravan.
Credit: Peter Cutts Photography
From left: Anton Ni, 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 July 21–30.

The US team was finalized at the conclusion of the Chemistry Olympiad Study Camp on June 13 at the University of Maryland, College Park. The study camp was organized by the American Chemical Society and sponsored by Chemours.

The team consists of recent high school graduates Edward Jin of Arnold O. Beckman High School, Albert Liu of North Hollywood High School, and Anton Ni of University High School, all in California, and rising junior Yajvan Ravan of Churchill High School in Michigan.

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

“It still is kind of surreal, Liu says 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 more comfortable 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 her career path.

“It showed me how versatile having knowledge in chemistry is,” Ravan says. “That it can really be applied anywhere.”


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