Team USA prepares for International Biology Olympiad in Indonesia

July 3, 2014  


bio team 2014

Members of Team USA 2014, selected by the Center for Excellence in Education (CEE) during the USA Biology Olympiad, visit with Suresh Garimella, executive vice president for research and partnerships at Purdue University, during the awards ceremony at Purdue's Dauch Alumni Center on June 12. From left are Abhijit Mudigonda of Oregon, Yilun Du of Washington, Varun Mangalick of Minnesota, Garimella and William Long of Virginia. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Four U.S. high school students hope the momentum from the USA Biology Olympiad (USABO) at Purdue University will carry into next week's 2014 International Biology Olympiad (IBO).

Team USA members Yilun Du, William Long, Varun Mangalick and Abhijit Mudigonda were selected last month by the Center for Excellence in Education (CEE) during the 12th annual USABO national finals, hosted by Purdue, to compete at the IBO on July 6-13 in Bali, Indonesia.

"The Center for Excellence in Education is honored to support Team USA at the International Biology Olympiad, preparing the next generation of biologists to tackle the scientific challenges of our world," said Joann DiGennaro, president of CEE.

"Team USA members are academic athletes and future leaders of our nation who are participating in the historic 25th International Biology Olympiad with students from more than 60 countries and five continents."

Kathy Frame, director of the USABO and special projects for the CEE, and Clark Gedney, director of the BioMedia Center for Instructional Design at Purdue, are accompanying Team USA to the worldwide event, which involves students from 63 countries. Air travel is provided courtesy of Korean Air, the official airline of the USA Biology Olympiad. 

"What a privilege and honor for Purdue to partner with the Center for Excellence in Education to host the USABO and provide the springboard for these incredibly bright young U.S. scientists to showcase their talents at the International Biology Olympiad," said Suresh Garimella, executive vice president for research and partnerships at Purdue who spoke at the USABO awards ceremony to select Team USA 2014.

"We started with 10,500 U.S. high school students, narrowing that to 20 finalists for the USABO here at Purdue. From there, Varun, Abhijit, William and Yilun were selected as Team USA for IBO, and we got a glimpse of the innovators, technologists, entrepreneurs and scientific leaders of tomorrow," Garimella said.

Team USA members will all be seniors this fall. Du attends Pullman (Washington) High School; Long attends Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology in Alexandria, Virginia; Mangalick attends Mounds View High School in Arden Hills, Minnesota; and Mudigonda attends Westview High School in Portland, Oregon.

During the USABO at Purdue, which ran June 1-15, the students took two exams - a practical and a theoretical. The four students scoring the highest on those exams won gold medals at the USABO and earned spots on Team USA 2014 to compete at IBO.

The high school students also participated in lectures, study sessions and laboratory exercises led by biology experts in fields that include microbiology, plant anatomy, physiology, ethology, genetics and biosystematics.

At last year's IBO, Team USA scored the highest overall team points and was awarded four gold medals. The team was composed of Charles Gleason of Hackensack, New Jersey; Nikhil Buduma of San Jose, California; Lei Ding of Wilmington, Delaware; and Catharine Wu of San Diego, California.

Frame was elected by her fellow jurors to be a member of Indonesia's Host Committee for the 2014 IBO in Bali. The subgroup will work in cooperation with Indonesia to review the practical and the theoretical examinations that have been developed, focusing on the quality of the questions in terms of scientific correctness and conceptual formulation.

Finalists from 10 states were selected to compete at the USABO based on their scores from the open and semifinal exams. Nearly 10,500 high school students registered nationally for the USABO. This marks the fifth consecutive year that Purdue has co-sponsored the finals with CEE.

About the Center for Excellence in Education

The Center for Excellence in Education was founded in 1983 by the late Adm. H.G. Rickover and Joann P. DiGennaro, president of the center. 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 (RSI), the USA Biology Olympiad (USABO), and the Teacher Enrichment Program (TEP).  

Media Contacts

Maureen Palmer, 703-448-9062 ext. 222, mpalmer@cee.org

Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu 

Sources: Kathy Frame, 571-228-0098, kframe@cee.org

Clark Gedney, 765-494-0157, cgedney@purdue.edu

Suresh Garimella, 765-494-9095, garimell@purdue.edu

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