The International Chemistry Olympiad

Later this month, students from more than 70 countries will compete in the International Chemistry Olympiad. This event will take place in the DC area, and we were pleased to obtain an interview with one of the people working to make this event happen: Angie Poggi-Vergas.

We don’t know much about the Olympiad, briefly tell us about it.

The International Chemistry Olympiad is an event for outstanding high school students to compete against their international peers using their chemistry knowledge. This year, students from more than 70 countries will be participating. Each country ranks their students individually and assigns them to teams, and each nation’s delegation consists of 4 students. The competition itself consists of a 5 hour laboratory practical test (technical skills) and a 5 hour written theoretical examination (chemistry knowledge). The topics covered on the exams are inorganic chemistry, thermodynamics, kinetics, analytical and organic chemistry. The 44th International Olympiad will be in Washington, DC during the week of July 21st – 30th.

Here’s a brief video introducing the team representing the USA:

We understand that the Dow Chemical Co. has been a big supporter of these events. How will Dow be involved in Olympiad?

DOW Chemical is the official sponsor of the 44th International Chemistry Olympiad. They have donated more than $2M to use in planning and executing the event. We appreciate their support of the international future of chemistry! http://www.dow.com/company/icho/

If you want to follow the event or learn more about the participants, where can you go to find that?

For more information about the 44th International Chemistry Olympiad visit the event’s website. Here you will find information about the event, delegations, locations, travel arrangements, sponsors, a 10 day tentative schedule (students will have the opportunity to sightsee and explore the DC metropolitan area), and more. You can also follow them on Twitter under #icho . Finally, you can leave a message supporting your team on the event’s Facebook page.

How has the Olympiad been valuable for promoting chemical education?

The program is intended to stimulate student interest in chemistry through independent and creative competition in the field of chemistry. It also aims to promote international contacts in chemistry, friendships between young scientific workers of different nationalities, cooperation among pupils, and exchange of pedagogical and scientific experience in chemistry.

How can I help high schoolers get involved with the Olympiad next year?

Over 13,000 high school students participate every year. There are different ways to get involved with the Chemistry Olympiad. (1) ACS Chem Clubs: High school teachers may have information about the Olympiads process. (2) If you are a high school student interested in participating, you may talk to your chemistry teacher to be your mentor and coordinator. (3) Local Sections and Student Chapters: The Local Section and student chapters may help to coordinate the local Chemistry Olympiad. (4) Visit the Chemistry Olympiad website.

As UPR alum, coming from a school that has a very involved and energetic ACS student chapter, what does the Olympiad mean to you? What would you want other ACS undergraduate chapters to know about it?

Being an ACS member since 2007 gave me the opportunity of experiencing the positive impact of the Chemistry Olympiad in the life of high school students. I served as an usher in the Chemistry Olympiads (OQUIMPIADAS) at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez multiple times. I saw enthusiastic high school students competing for a top prize. Some public school teachers coached their students with after school trainings and preparatory exams year round. But some students also attend without any preparation, but use the skills obtained in class to excel. It’s an important event for everybody: students, teachers, coordinators, and observers.

ANGEDITH POGGI-VARGAS is a University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez Alum, where she received her B.S. degree in Chemistry in 2011. Angie is currently a contractor for the Endowed Programs Office, assisting with the ACS Project SEED Program, ACS Scholars Program, and ACS Chemistry Olympiad.

I would definitely encourage any ACS student chapter to get involved with this event. The Chemistry Olympiad promotes interest in chemistry for high school students in both an educating and entertaining manner. Also, coordinating this event encourages others to get involved with ACS student chapters by highlighting the excitement of these bright young students.

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