News Details

High school students to participate in USA Biology Olympiad National Finals

May 27, 2011


Four high school students have been selected through a national academic competition at Purdue University to represent Team USA at next month's International Biology Olympiad in Taiwan. 

The top winners of the USA Biology Olympiad National Finals are Charles H. Du of the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in Chicago; Rebecca Shi of West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South in West Windsor, N.J.; Chelsea Voss of Cupertino High School in Cupertino, Calif.; and Shulin Ye, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science in Denton, Texas.

Du, Shi, Voss and Ye were awarded gold medals based on their high scores during the ninth annual USA Biology Olympiad National Finals, sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Education and held on the Purdue campus. Voss and Du join Team USA at the IBO for the second consecutive year after finishing third and fifth, respectively, in the world in 2010.

"The Center for Excellence in Education is excited to be sending four outstanding young scientists to represent the United States after two weeks of a finals competition at Purdue that brought the best out of all 20 of these high school students," said Joann DiGennaro, president of the Center for Excellence in Education. "Every student who qualified for the USA Biology Olympiad Nationals is a winner. But with any competition, unfortunately there's not much room at the top."

Team USA 2011 will compete at the IBO from July 10-17. Korean Air, the official airline of the 2011 USABO, is providing tickets for Team USA to attend the IBO, a worldwide competition involving student teams from 60 countries. Team USA earned gold medals at the last four International Biology Olympiad competitions, including in 2010 after their USA qualifying activities at Purdue.

"Purdue once again was honored and excited to serve as host of this prestigious event, helping groom the leaders of tomorrow and introducing some of the brightest young scientists in our country to the innovative programs and facilities we have at this university," said Purdue program coordinator Scott Mills, an animal sciences professor who will accompany Team USA in Taiwan. "We hope all 20 of these incredibly talented young scientists received as much from this experience as we did here at Purdue."

Silver medal winners this year are Victoria Cui of Liberal Arts and Science Academy High School in Austin, Texas; Lei "Jerry" Ding of The Charter School of Wilmington in Wilmington, Del.; Jeffrey Wang of Rockford Auburn High School in Rockford, Ill.; and Fred Yu of Westford Academy in Westford, Mass.

Winning bronze medals are Alexander Briese of Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md.; Nikhil Buduma of Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, Calif.; Russell Islam of Mira Loma High School in Sacramento, Calif.; and Jing "Raymond" Liu of Mission San Jose High School in San Jose, Calif.

The other 2011 USA Biology Olympiad National finalists and their home states are:

     * California: Angela Chen, Henry M. Gunn Senior High School, Palo Alto; Nhi Ho, Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica; Audrey Huang, Mission San Jose High School, San Jose; and David Shabsovich, Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica.

     * Illinois: Jonathan Pan, Naperville Central High School, Naperville.

     * New Jersey: Lauren Chung, Glen Rock High School, Glen Rock.

     * Texas: Dong "Jonathan" Hyug Lim, James E. Taylor High School, Katy.

     * Virginia: Min Cheol Kim, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology, Alexandria.

Finals for the top 20 students were held for the second straight year at Purdue from June 5-17. Representing eight states, the 12 male and eight female students were picked from 10,500 students nationally based on their scores from the USA Biology Olympiad open and semifinal exams. 

During their two weeks at Purdue, the finalists participated in intensive theoretical and practical tutorials, working with experts in the fields of cellular biology, microbiology, biotechnology, plant anatomy and physiology, animal anatomy and physiology, ethology, genetics and evolution, ecology and biosystematics. 

The students were taught by professors from Purdue, Bridgewater State University and Brandeis University and also toured research laboratories in Discovery Park and elsewhere on campus. Their mentors were from the University of California, San Francisco, Harvard University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

The Center for Excellence in Education was founded in 1983 by the late Adm. H.G. Rickover and DiGennaro. Kathy Frame serves as director of the USA Biology Olympiad and Special Projects and also will accompany Team USA in Taiwan. The center's mission is to nurture high school and university scholars to careers of excellence and leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and to encourage collaboration between and among leaders in the global community. CEE sponsors the Research Science Institute, the USA Biology Olympiad and the National Lab Skills Initiative.

Media Contacts:  Maureen Palmer, 703-448-9062 ext. 222,
                                Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133,

Sources: Joann P. DiGennaro, 703-448-9062, 
                  Kathy Frame, 571-228-0098,
                  Scott Mills, 765-494-4845,

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  • Scott Mills
  • 765-494-4845

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