2017 Chemistry Olympiad Summary

Contributed by Regina Cody, Chemistry Olympiad Coordinator

The U.S. High School Chemistry Olympiad is an annual program for high school students that has been organized by the American Chemical Society (ACS) since 1984.  The Chemical Society of Washington (CSW) is proud that it is one of 17 Local Sections that has participated in this Olympiad each year.  The CSW conducts its Chemistry Olympiad at two levels; the first level is the Local Section examination in March and the second level is the U.S. National examination in the latter half of April.  For the National exam, ACS allotted the CSW eighteen student places with the rule that a maximum of two students can be from one school.

The Local Section examination purchased from ACS was used to select these 18 students, and we worked with the high school chemistry teachers to select who will take the exam.  Emails were sent to teachers asking for the nomination of up to 25 students to take the Local Section exam, which is comprised of 60 multiple-choice questions.  Teachers from twenty high schools nominated a total of 213 students.  Ten of the high schools were in Maryland, eight were in Virginia, and two were in Washington, D.C.  The teachers administered the Local Section Exam to their students and returned the answer sheets to the CSW Coordinator, Regina Cody, for grading—using the answer key from ACS.  From the results of this exam, the 18 students were selected to take the National Exam for the CSW.  All the students who took the Local Section Exam received Certificates of Participation, as did their teachers.  Eight students scored 50-60, and received Certificates of High Honors, and 32 students scored 40-49, and received Certificates of Honors.

The U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad (USNCO) Exam was given on April 19th in the Bioscience Education Center at the Germantown Campus of the Montgomery College.  This exam consisted of three separate parts: one written multiple choice, one written essay response, and one laboratory practical. The exam was given in the same time period, April 18-24, across the U.S. to about 1000 students.  The ACS had a separate grading site and team to grade the national exam.  Although none of the CSW students qualified for the Study Camp in June at the Air Force Academy (from which 4 students were selected to represent the U.S. at the International Chemistry Olympiad), two students received High Honors certificates: Aaditya Singh of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and James Vinson of Montgomery Blair High School.  Ethan Liu of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology received an Honors certificate. All 18 students received ACS Certificates of Participation, and are listed on the next page.

The 49th International Chemistry Olympiad competition was held July 6-15 in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand.  The U.S. Alpha Kappa Team won four gold medals: Harrison Wang of The Hinsdale Central High School, IL, won the fifth highest-ranking gold medal;  Steven Liu of Monta Vista High School, CA, Joshua Park of Lexington High School, MA and Brendan Yap, from Carmel High School, IN also earned gold medals.

I thank very much the individuals below who gave generously of their time and knowledge to make the National Exam day possible.

  • At the Germantown Campus of Montgomery College, Professor Scot Magnotta, Chair of the Chemical and Biological Sciences Department and Vivian Kruft, Lab Manager, who did all the preparation for the Lab Practical.
  • Elinor Santor (retired), who helped proctor the written exams and assisted in the breakfast/lunch room.

Mr. Xu Duan, chemistry teacher at Holton-Arms School, who helped proctor the lab practical, did initial lab clean-up, and assisted in the breakfast/lunch room.

2017 CSW U.S. National Participants

Student Chemistry Teacher High School City, State
Abigail Svoysky Daniela Munteanu Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School Rockville, MD
Bonnie Akhavan Xu Duan Holton-Arms School


Bethesda, MD
Jayme Slotkin Xu Duan Bethesda, MD
Austin Cheng Dr. Padma Iddamalgoda James Madison High School Vienna, VA
Ashutosh Ukey Dr. Padma Iddamalgoda Vienna, VA
Harrison Smith Beverly Sivaslian Landon School Bethesda, MD
Dan Ni Leah Puhlick Langley High School McLean, VA
Philena Sun Christina Hicks McLean High School McLean, VA
Joshua B. Fernandes Tran Pham Montgomery Blair High School Silver Spring, MD
James S. Vinson Tran Pham
Mitchell Fream Prasad Gerard Poolesville High School Poolesville, MD
Matthew R. Feng Prasad Gerard
Nataliya Stepanova Brendan Mallory Richard Montgomery High School Rockville, MD
Robert Shekoyan Leslie George Saint Alban’s School Mount St. Albans, DC
Andrew Melman-Rogers Leslie George
Ethan Liu Hadan Kauffman Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Alexandria, VA


Aaditya Singh Hadan Kauffman
William Yu Brett Bentley Thomas S. Wootton High School Rockville, MD