Four high school students have been selected to represent the U.S. in the 49th International Chemistry Olympiad in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand, on July 6–15.
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 in Colorado Springs.
The students are Steven Liu of Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, Calif.; Joshua Park of Lexington High School in Massachusetts; Harrison Wang of Hinsdale Central High School in Illinois; and Brendan Yap of Carmel High School in Indiana.
Jeffrey Shi of Marcellus High School in New York is the first alternate. Aniket Dehadrai of Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics in Oklahoma City is the second alternate.
“This is one of the strongest groups we have seen,” says mentor Michael Danahy, a lecturer in chemistry at Bowdoin College. “They came in really well prepared in all aspects of chemistry.”
Liu says he has been preparing for this moment for years. “Last year, I was the first alternate, and it was heartbreaking,” he says. “Going through the cycle twice really helped me grow and improve. I think that’s what helped me make the team this year.”
Yap says that participation in the study camp motivated him to change his intended college major from electrical engineering to chemistry or chemical engineering.
“To be honest, I’m still kind of stunned,” says Park. “I’m going to be one of four people representing the U.S., and it’s a big responsibility. I’m kind of nervous about that.”
Wang is nothing short of optimistic. “The U.S. team this year is really strong, and I want others to see how hard we work and how much time and effort we’ve put into this.”
In addition to Danahy, the team will be accompanied by mentors Patrick Chan of Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in New York City and Christine Saber of Gannon University.