Four high school students have secured a spot on the team representing the U.S. at the 50th International Chemistry Olympiad, which will start in Bratislava, Slovakia, on July 19 and end in Prague on July 29.
The U.S. team was finalized after an intensive two-week Chemistry Olympiad Study Camp, sponsored by the American Chemical Society and held at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
The students are Yutong Dai, who just graduated from Princeton International School of Math & Science in Princeton, N.J.; Michelle Lu, a rising junior at Pomperaug High School in Southbury, Conn.; Jeffrey Shi, a rising senior at Marcellus High School in Marcellus, N.Y.; and Andrew Wu, a rising senior at Park Tudor School in Indianapolis.
The first alternate is Aniket Dehadrai, who recently graduated from Oklahoma School of Science & Mathematics in Oklahoma City. The second alternate is Edward Jin, a rising senior at Arnold O. Beckman High School in Irvine, Calif.
“We’re very excited,” says head mentor Christine Saber, an assistant professor of chemistry at Gannon University. “Each year, these students appear to be stronger and stronger in the chemical principles and practices. They are an inspiration to me.”
“It’s still sinking in,” Lu says of making the team. “It’s been very rewarding to be able to participate in this camp. There’s always so much more to learn, and I hope to make the U.S. proud.”
Dai, who will be heading to Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall, says she is nervous about the upcoming international competition. “But I’m also very excited about representing the U.S.,” she says, adding that the camp helped her learn to how handle intense pressure.
Wu says his passion for chemistry started during his freshman year of high school. “I had a really amazing teacher. He taught me a lot of chemistry. He was really inspiring, and his passion helped fuel mine.”
“I’m excited about meeting students from other countries,” Shi says of the international competition. “I think that will be really helpful in both developing my network and just learning about the international community in general.”
In addition to Saber, the team mentors are Michael Danahy of Bowdoin College and Silvia Atim of the University of South Carolina.