Report on the 2018 CSW High School Chemistry Olympiad

By Regina Cody, 2018 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 Local Section 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.  About 1000 students across the U.S. take the three part National exam, and the twenty students who have the highest scores are invited to the study camp in June at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. Four students from the study camp attendees are selected for the U.S. team to participate in the International Chemistry Olympiad in July.

CSW purchased the Local Section examination from ACS to select the 18 students, and we work with the high school chemistry teachers for this purpose.  E-mail letters were sent to teachers asking for the nomination of up to 20 students to take the Local Section exam, which is a multiple choice of 60 questions.  Teachers from seventeen high schools nominated a total of 160 students. Nine of the high schools are in Maryland, five are in Virginia, and three 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 with 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. Nine students who scored 50-60 received Certificates of High Honors, and 30 students who scored 40-49 received Certificates of Honors.

The U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad (USNCO) Exam was given on April 20th 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 and was given in the same time period, April 17-23, 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, four students from CSW received Honors. They are: David Fang from Montgomery Blair High School, Anne Li from Thomas Wootton High School, Dan Ni from Langley High School, Sohom Paul and William Xu from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

The U.S. team of four students for the International Chemistry Olympiad was selected from the 20 students at the Study Camp.  The 50th International Chemistry Olympiad competition was held July 19-29 in Bratislava, Slovakia and Prague, Czech Republic with 296 students from 76 countries.  The U.S. Alpha Lambda Team performed excellently and won four gold medals.  Jeffrey Shi of Marcellus High School, NY won the fourth highest-ranking gold medal; Michelle Lu of Pomperaug High School, CT, Andrew Wu from Park Tudor School, IN, and Yutong Dai of Princeton International School, NY also earned gold medals placing 10th, 12th and 13th respectively.

The eighteen students who took the U. S. National Exam for the CSW are listed below along with their teachers and high schools.  These students received ACS Certificates of Participation.

Student Chemistry Teacher High School City, State
Veer Patel Dr. Michael Tomlinson The Academy of Science Sterling, VA
Nikolaus (Alex) Schandlbauer Deanna Tomanelli BASIS Washington DC Public Charter School Washington, D.C.
Cameron Khan Ina Koppel Chantilly High School Chantilly, VA
Elizabeth Zampella Xu Duan Holton – Arms School Bethesda, MD
Amy Chang Yan Lin Home Schooled Fairfax, VA
Ethane Fine Beverly Sivaslian Landon School Bethesda, MD
Dan Ni Leah Puhlick Langley High School McLean, VA
Belinda Xi Leah Puhlick Langley High School McLean, VA
David Fang Tran Pham Montgomery Blair High School Silver Spring, MD
Jonathan Guo Susan D. Bingham Oakton High School Vienna, VA
Angela Sun Brendan Mallory Richard Montgomery High School Rockville, MD
Alan Tong Brendan Mallory Richard Montgomery High School Rockville, MD
Andrew Melman-Rogers Leslie George Saint Alban’s School Washington, DC
Robert Shekoyan Leslie George
Sohom Paul Hadan Kauffman Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology Alexandria, VA
William Xu Hadan Kauffman
Anna Li Brett Bentley Thomas S. Wootton High School Rockville, MD
Richard Tan Brett Bentley

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.

Dr. 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.