The team of four high school students who will represent the U.S. at the 44th International Chemistry Olympiad (IChO) in the Washington, D.C., area on July 21–30 has been chosen.
The team members are Sidharth Chand of Detroit Country Day School, Beverly Hills, Mich.; James Deng of Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, Conn.; Jason Ge of Westview High School, in San Diego; and Christopher Hillenbrand of Regis High School, in New York City. Timothy M. Lee of Arcadia High School, in California, and Andrew Guo of Scarsdale High School, in New York, will fill in as alternates.
The team was assembled on June 19 at the conclusion of an intensive two-week U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad study camp organized by the American Chemical Society and held at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. The 20 students who participated in the camp were selected from a pool of approximately 10,000 students from around the country.
“The competition was a lot closer this year than it was last year,” says head mentor Kelli Slunt, a chemistry professor at the University of Mary Washington. Many of the participants were newcomers to the study camp, which may have driven up the energy and enthusiasm of the competition, she notes. Also noteworthy is that the members are young: Hillenbrand just completed his freshman year; Ge, his sophomore year; and Chand and Deng, their junior years. In years past, team members have typically been juniors or seniors.
“This is a huge deal for me,” Deng says. “I’m very honored to be in this position,” he says of representing the U.S.
“As part of the team, it’s our job to represent all of the students who participated in this competition,” Ge says. “I think any of us 20 would have been good ambassadors for the U.S.”
Deng agrees. “There was a big sense of camaraderie, and we would all study together,” he says. “That element of the top 20 made the top four so much better.”
Slunt says she has high hopes for the international competition in July. “I am confident that all of them will medal,” she says, “but I also want them to appreciate the international friendships they’ll be able to cultivate as part of the experience.”