For the second year in a row, Nicholas Tsao ’20 placed in the top 20 students nationwide competing in the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad, and thus qualified to attend the summer study camp, held May 31–June 12, 2020. The Chemistry Olympiad is a yearly, multi-tiered competition designed to stimulate and promote achievement in high school chemistry. More than 16,000 students compete nationally, with only the top 20 being chosen to attend a summer study camp where they will be mentored by professors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Pennsylvania, University of Maryland and other institutions. This year, Nicholas and the other finalists attended the camp virtually. Of the 20 finalists, four were selected to represent the USA in the 52nd International Chemistry Olympiad on July 25, hosted virtually by Turkey this year.
“Nicholas is in very elite company,” said Fletcher Carron, Stephen M. Seay ’68 Science Department Chair. “We haven’t had a student make it to this level in any subject (Bio, Chem, or Physics) that I recall before Nicholas."
Nicholas was selected as the first alternate for Team USA and fifth overall. If any of the four representatives of Team USA are unable to attend, Nicholas would be the first replacement.
“It’s honestly pretty crazy that I’ve managed to make it this far, and what a way to cap off a memorable senior year,” Nicholas said. “I hope my journey here at St. Mark’s and with the Chemistry Olympiad becomes something for younger Marksmen to look up to.”
Nicholas and the other students advanced through the competition by taking hours-long chemistry exams that included written problem-solving questions, laboratory practicals, and multiple-choice questions, such as “What is the average oxidation state of tungsten in sodium phosphotungstate, Na3PW12O40?”
Nicholas will be attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall.
St. Mark’s School of Texas is a private, nonsectarian college-preparatory boys’ day school for students in grades 1 through 12, located in Dallas, Texas. St. Mark’s aims to prepare young men to assume leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world.
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