UOG holds its first Chemistry Olympiad high school competition
On Saturday, May 15, 2021, the University of Guam Chemistry Program launched the Chemistry Olympiad, in which 23 high school students took part in a chemistry examination supervised by the university’s chemistry faculty and Chemistry Club members.
The Chemistry Olympiad is an 80-minute quiz that includes 50 questions on a variety of topics pulled from the high school chemistry curriculum taught throughout a school year.
The event was held at Father Dueñas Memorial School and St. Paul Christian School under the coordination of UOG’s Chemistry Program chair, Maika Vuki. He was assisted by faculty members John Limtiaco, Park Jin, Tedros Bezabeh, and Bulan Wu, along with teachers from private schools on the island.
Co-coordinator and Assistant Professor John Limtiaco said, “The UOG Chemistry Olympiad is designed to imitate the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad that is also held annually by the American Chemical Society.”
“According to the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad, the aim is to stimulate young people to achieve excellence in chemistry, recognize outstanding chemistry students and, in doing so, encourage additional learning at a formative time in their intellectual development. Additionally, they aim to recognize the excellent achievement of the teachers and the importance of the school environment as well as challenge the chemical knowledge and skills of young students,” Limtiaco said.
While open to all high school students from both private and public schools, the current climate surrounding COVID19, paired with the lack of face-to-face instruction, forced public schools to opt-out of competing in this year’s Chemistry Olympiad, leaving only private schools to join. Still, the Chemistry Department remains hopeful for future events similar to this.
“We anticipate that with the success of this year’s competition and the return to in-person learning, more schools and students will be in participation next year,” Limtiaco said.
Students who participated in this year’s competition include 11 students from Father Dueñas, one student from Harvest Christian Academy, five students from St. Paul Christian School, and six students from St. John’s school. All 23 of these individuals were also enrolled in an advanced chemistry class at their respective schools and were encouraged by teachers to compete.
Like most competitions, prizes were awarded to the top three winners. The third-place winner, Felix Gong from St. John’s School, received a cash prize of $75. Second place went to Brandon Kim, also from St. John’s School, who received $100. First place, a prize of $150, went to Brian "Yun" Park from Harvest Christian Academy.
The chemistry faculty are planning to hold the next Chemistry Olympiad, along with their Titration Competition, during the University of Guam's annual Charter Day event and plan to make the competition a recurring event.