Students from around U.S. compete in national chemistry competition

Students from across the United States competed in the "You Be the Chemist Challenge" in D.C. Monday, June 19, 2017 (Kellye Lynn, ABC7)

The future scientists were put to the test. Some of the country's best performing students competed in a national chemistry competition. Seventh grade Science teacher Barbara Ferri explained, "These kids are doing not only high school chemistry, they are doing chemistry that is above even the high school level."

Samuel Rhee is an eighth grader at Maret School in D.C. who was one of 42 participants competing in the "You Be the Chemist Challenge" at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Northwest D.C. "I never really saw chemistry as something super interesting before but now I see you could actually do stuff with it," he remarked. Rhee and the other contestants battled it out in 10 rounds of competition.

The interactive academic challenge organized by the Chemical Educational Foundation provides the champion a $12,000 scholarship. Kai Svenson, 14, a student at Tilden Middle School in Rockville, Maryland told ABC7 News, "You see a lot of sports competitions and kids who aren't really into that, this is their big chance."

No matter the outcome, organizers say every participant leaves a winner. Avery Reese, manager of Outreach and Events with the Chemical Educational Foundation stated, "We want to make that connection for them now and show them how cool it is to know science and be a chemistry pro." Svenson continued, "It's not so much winning a prize or trophy but for me it's more. I want to become a chemist or a physicist and I want to know how much more I need to study to become that."

The competition involved students between the fifth and eighth grades.

Eighth-grader Ananthan Sadagopan, 13, of Westborough, Massachusetts, won the "You Be The Chemist Challenge."

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