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High school students to participate in USA Biology Olympiad National Finals

May 27, 2011

For the second consecutive year, top high school students will travel to Purdue University to participate June 5-17 in the ninth annual USA Biology Olympiad National Finals, sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Education.

The 20 finalists, representing eight states, were selected based on their high scores from the USA Biology Olympiad open and semifinal exams. Nearly 10,500 students nationally registered for the open exam.

Team USA members earned gold medals at the last four International Biology Olympiad competitions, including in 2010 after their USA qualifying activities at Purdue.

"The USA Biology Olympiad National finalists are among the highest achieving biology high school students in this nation," said Joann DiGennaro, president of the Center for Excellence in Education. "The center is proud to collaborate with Purdue University to train high academic achievers in practical and theoretical biology to propel them to science careers."

The students will gather at Purdue to compete for U.S. medals and one of the four places on Team USA to participate in July in the International Biology Olympiad (IBO) in Taiwan. Korean Air, the official airline of the 2011 USABO, will provide tickets for Team USA to attend the IBO, a worldwide competition involving student teams from 60 countries.

During their two weeks at Purdue, the finalists will participate in intensive theoretical and practical tutorials. They will study with leading U.S. biologists who are 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 high school students then will take two exams, a practical and theoretical. The four highest-scoring students will be named Team USA 2011 to represent the United States at the International Biology Olympiad.

"Purdue once again is honored and excited to serve as host of this prestigious event, helping groom the leaders of tomorrow," said Scott Mills, a Purdue animal sciences professor. "We hope all these bright students receive as much from this experience as we do here on the Purdue campus."

While at Purdue, the students will be taught and mentored by professors from Purdue, Bridgewater State University and Brandeis University. They also will tour research laboratories in Discovery Park and elsewhere on campus.

The 2011 USA Biology Olympiad National finalists are:

* California: Nikhil Buduma, Bellarmine College Preparatory, San Jose; 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; Russell Islam, Mira Loma High School, Sacramento; Jing Liu, Mission San Jose High School, San Jose; David Shabsovich, Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica; and Chelsea Voss, Cupertino High School, Cupertino.

* Delaware: Lei Ding, The Charter School of Wilmington, Wilmington.

* Illinois: Charles H. Du, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Chicago; Jonathan Pan, Naperville Central High School, Naperville; and Jeffrey Wang, Rockford Auburn High School, Rockford.

* Maryland: Alexander Briese, Montgomery Blair High School, Silver Spring.

* Massachusetts: Fred Yu, Westford Academy, Westford.

* New Jersey: Lauren Chung, Glen Rock High School, Glenn Rock; and Rebecca Shi, West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, West Windsor.

* Texas: Victoria Cui, Liberal Arts and Science Academy High School, Austin; Dong Hyug Lim, James E. Taylor High School, Katy; and Shulin Ye, Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, Denton.

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

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. 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.

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