Kien ’22 heads to Chemistry Nationals


After competing in the American Chemical Society’s Local Section Chemistry Olympiad, Kien ’22 is advancing to Nationals!  

“This is a real testament to Kien’s chemistry knowledge and great efforts all year in my AP Chemistry class,” said Upper School Science Teacher Sacha Place. She added that only 18 students from the entire DC area advance to the national round of the Olympiad. “I am very proud of him. Kien has not only done a great job in my AP Chemistry class this year, but also engages in significant self-study on chemistry topics because he always wants to learn more about the field.” 

“Although the difficulty of the Local Section Exam does not tell me that I’m an exceptional student, I can be proud of myself and my love for chemistry,” said Kien, who has enjoyed the subject since Grade 7. Kien described the exam as a 60-question test consisting of a wide range of chemistry knowledge including thermodynamics, kinetics, matter structure, and organic chemistry. 

Kien is advancing to the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad on April 17. The top four students from the national competition go on to represent the country in the International Chemistry Olympiad.  

“I felt extremely happy after knowing that I was going to advance to the U.S National Chemistry Olympiad,” Kien said. “I want to express my gratitude to Ms. Place, my instructor for my AP Chemistry class, for providing me with this extraordinary chance to test my knowledge. She is an amazing teacher and thanks to her, I have been able to consolidate my foundation in chemistry for further study.” 

Kien anticipates the National Exam to be more challenging than the Local Section Exam. “This is a great opportunity for me to challenge myself and compete among the best students in the country. The idea of studying chemistry in an immersive environment with many exceptional students and instructors will be a very valuable experience for me to push my knowledge to a higher level and make social connections with talented people as well. Although my schedule as a junior is hectic, I’m doing my best to keep up with classwork and revise for this upcoming National Exam simultaneously so that I can consolidate my knowledge in chemistry,” he said.  

According to American Chemical Society’s website, the “purpose of the competition is to stimulate young people to achieve excellence in chemistry.” It has been an American Chemical Society-sponsored program since 1984.