Westmont Magazine The Right Chemistry
For the past six years, gifted high school chemistry students have come to Westmont to compete in the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad. The American Chemical Society sponsors the annual exam. Westmont Professor Allan Nishimura belongs to the California Los Padres section and facilitates the olympiad.
During the first round, close to 200 students from 11 local high schools took a qualifying test. The top 10 traveled to Westmont April 16 for a five-hour exam that included multiple-choice questions, a written response and a lab question. For the latter, students had to devise an experiment to solve the problem. The Los Padres section awarded $500 to the chemistry teacher whose student scored the highest in the national exam. An anonymous Westmont donor has also given prize money. The top student received $250, the next highest, $150, and the third-place finisher took home $100.
A panel at the ACS DivCHED Examination Institute graded the exam and selected 20 students for a study camp at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado in June. The top four compete with finalists from 60 countries in Taiwan in July.