6/21/2011 – U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. — Twenty high school students from around the nation spent two weeks honing their chemistry skills at the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Study Camp at the Air Force Academy May 31 through Tuesday.
These 14- to 18-year-old students were selected through a testing process organized by the American Chemical Society. Of the 10,000 who begin the testing process, 1,000 take the second test, and of that group, only the top 20 are invited to the study camp. The goal of this camp is to select the four best students to compete at the 2011 International Chemistry Olympiad, or IChO, in Ankara, Turkey.
This will be the 43rd IChO, a competition that began in Eastern Europe and expanded over the years to include other nations worldwide. The U.S. began participating in 1983, and the Academy has hosted the study camp every year since.
“I like the type of problems that the Chemistry Olympiad presents,” Mr. Tayyab Shah said. “They involve a lot of problem solving so it’s more fun than what you do in your high school classes.”
This is Mr. Pendyala’s second year at the camp; he made it to the top 20 in 2010 but did not make the cut for the IChO. So he did what any dedicated student would do: he studied chemistry extensively over the last year to prepare for the test and camp this year.
The lead mentor for the group, Dr. Kristin Fletcher, said that of the 20 invited to this year’s camp, seven of them are like Mr. Pendyala, students who are back for a second time. That makes Mr. Shah’s presence in the top six remarkable because it’s his first year at the camp, which means he’s grasped topics in college level chemistry in just two weeks.
The picture above is of the first Year Mentor Dr. Kelli Slunt works with New York native Tayyab Shah, 17, in the lab during the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad Study Camp at the U.S. Air Force Academy. This camp has been held at the Academy every year since 1983 and it prepares students for the International Chemistry Olympiad. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Megan Davis)
As students across the country are leaving academics behind for the summer, four students are doing quite the opposite as they ramp up to represent the United States at the 43rd International Chemistry Olympiad. The international competition for the world’s most talented chemistry students at the secondary school level will be held July 9-18, 2011, in Ankara, Turkey.
The four U.S. team members are:
- Konstantin Borisov, Wexford, Pa., North Allegheny High School
- Tayyab Shah, Vestal, N.Y., Vestal High School
- Elmer Tan, Edison, N.J., John P. Stevens High School
- Joe Tung, Cerritos, Calif., Gretchen Whitney High School