High school students selected to participate in 13th USA Biology Olympiad finals at Purdue

May 26, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Center for Excellence in Education has announced the 20 top high school students from around the country who will participate in the 13th annual USA Biology Olympiad national finals from Sunday (May 31) through June 12 at Purdue University.

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

"CEE is proud to partner with Purdue University to train the USABO national finalists in practical and theoretical biology," said Joann DiGennaro, president of the center. "These are the highest achieving biology students across this country, and it is exciting to nurture them during the national competition and to prepare them for the international competition in Denmark."

The national finalists will gather at Purdue to compete for U.S. medals. The top four medalists will travel to Aarhaus, Denmark, July 12-19 to compete at the International Biology Olympiad, a worldwide competition involving students, ages 14-19, from 65 countries.

Team USA was awarded three gold medals and one silver medal in the 2014 IBO. That team selected from the event at Purdue was composed of Yilun Du of Pullman, Wash.; William Long of Alexandria, Va.; Varun Mangalick of Arden Hills, Minn.; and Abhijit Mudigonda of Portland, Ore.

Kathy Frame, director of USABO and special projects for CEE, and Clark Gedney, director of the BioMedia Center for Instructional Design at Purdue, manage the administration of the USABO activities.

Gedney said the USABO advances Purdue's efforts to develop STEM leaders of the future and invest in its Purdue Moves initiative, which focuses on providing students with the readiness to excel in a highly technological, global platform and learn in an innovative, comprehensive setting.

"Working in a classroom with 20 exceptional students and some of the best instructors and faculty is intense and rewarding," Gedney said.

"It is exciting to be able to mentor these high school students for success at the national level here at Purdue and at the international level in Denmark. The passion and leadership in these incredibly bright students will help create new innovations and discoveries in the science field."

The national finalists coming to Purdue for the 2015 USA Biology Olympiad are:

* California: Kevin Bao, Troy High School, Fullerton; Marcello Kendrew Chang, Mira Loma High School, Sacramento; Rowan Ting Cheung, Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica; Jordan Elizabeth Docter, Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica; Aneesh Samineni, The King's Academy, Sunnyvale; Zilu Lu Pan, Canyon Crest High School, San Diego; Kentaro Tanaka, Santa Clara High School, Santa Clara; and Maxwell Lu Zhu, Cambridge Educational Institute, Chino Hills.

* Delaware: David Li Xu, The Charter School of Wilmington, Wilmington.

* Indiana: Boyang Dun, Canterbury School, Fort Wayne.

* Massachusetts: Jueun Lee, Lexington High School, Lexington.

* Michigan: David Wei Wu, Troy High School, Troy.

* Minnesota: Varun Mangalick, Mounds View High School, Arden Hills.

* New Jersey: Grace Chen, Bridgewater-Raritan Regional High School, Bridgewater; Michael Gao, Freehold High School, Freehold; Roger Jin, West Windsor Plainsboro High School North, Plainsboro; and David Kang Myung Yang, Bergen County Academics, Hackensack.

* Texas: Siddarth Guha, Dulles High School, Sugar Land.

* Virginia: Neeraj Prasad, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology, Alexandria.

* Washington: Yilun Du, Pullman High School, Pullman.

During the two weeks at Purdue, the students will participate in intensive theoretical and practical tutorials in laboratories across campus and in Discovery Park. They will study with leading U.S. biologists who are experts in the fields of cellular and microbiology; plant anatomy and physiology; animal anatomy and physiology; ethology, genetics and evolution; and ecology, ethology and biosystematics. At the conclusion of the two weeks, the students take two exams - a practical and a theoretical. The four highest scoring students will be named to Team USA 2015 and will represent the United States at the international competition.

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, who serves as CEE president. 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 Teacher Enrichment Program.  

Media Contacts:

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

Maureen Palmer, 703-448-9062 ext. 224, mpalmer@cee.org                                              

Mallory Bilski, 219-805-2601, mbilski@purdue.edu

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

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

Not to journalists: A file photo of the 2014 USA Biology Olympiad is available at http://purdue.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/USA-Biology-Olympiad-2014/G00007HGCwtQv910/I0000E4BSXYC.jLQ 

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