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Who Won the 2018 National “You Be The Chemist” Challenge?

2018 You Be The Chemist Finals

We were ecstatic to be in attendance on Monday, June 18, at the National “You Be The Chemist” Challenge finals at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

You Be The Chemist is an interactive academic contest designed to inspire, motivate, and support the exploration of chemistry concepts and their real-world applications for students in grades 5-8.  Coast Southwest has long been a proud sponsor of the You Be The Chemist Challenge and was extremely excited to support another generation of young chemists, scientists, and innovators at this year’s Challenge in the nation’s capital. You Be The Chemist is hosted annually by the Chemical Education Foundation, in collaboration with fellow chemistry and science educators, STEM-supporting community organizations and leaders, and proud industry supporters like us.

And the winner was…

Seventh-grader Shreyas Arcot from Moody Allen Middle School in Glen Allen, Virginia was this year’s champion. 

“At CEF we are incredibly proud of how this Challenge has instilled an interest in chemistry for middle school students across the country. Over the past 14 years we’ve watched this program grow and inspire STEM majors and careers,” said CEF Executive Director Dwayne Sattler. “Congratulations to Shreyas Arcot on the impressive chemistry knowledge demonstrated at the National Challenge and to all of the competitors!”

YBTC Champion

42 out of 46,000

In 2018, approximately 46,000 students participated in You Be the Chemist Challenges around the country, in 40 states and two U.S. territories: D.C. and Puerto Rico. Out of the 42 challenges, 42 students then traveled to the Omni Shoreham to compete for the honor of winning the national You Be the Chemist title.

“This year’s competition was fierce,” said CEF Executive Director Dwayne Sattler.

Over the course of the four-day competition, almost 400 chemical industry representatives, educators, and competitor family members celebrated chemistry, the application of chemistry in everyday life, and science related careers. In addition to the academically rigorous competition on June 18, participants also found in some time for fun by touring the Smithsonian Museums on the National Mall.

YBTC Finals

The 2018 Challenge concluded with a delicious dinner and awards ceremony, where students had the chance to mingle, network, and forge early and meaningful connections with chemists, chemical industry business leaders, and other science educators.

Shreyas Arcot, this year’s winner, has competed in the You Be the Chemist National Challenge three times previously. After several competitions in the past, he was especially proud about his coveted big win this year.

“As the 2018 National Champion for You Be the Chemist, I am very proud and I would love to tell all the chemists out there that you should always stay interested in chemistry and that it’s a great subject and that you should never lose heart,” said Shreyas.

We can only admire the commitment and intelligence of a seventh-grader who was able to compete on such a big stage against a host of other extremely bright and competitive youngsters. What were we doing at his age that could compare?

Every one a winner…

Shreyas wasn’t the only winner that day. Asher Wallen, an eighth-grader from Buist Academy in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina scored second place in the Challenge. Lee Garber-Ford, an eighth-grader from Taylor Middle School in Cleves, Ohio snagged the third place win, and Lawrence Zhao, an eighth-grader from University Laboratory High School, in Champaign, Illinois, placed fourth.

And, as cliché as it might sound, it’s true that every single competitor at this year’s event went home a winner just by competing at the top National Challenge level.

YTBC Finalists

Last year’s You Be the Chemist student participants reported an increased interest in pursuing STEM education and career paths, and greater confidence in their ability to use STEM concepts in everyday life. With results like that, it’s clear that the You Be the Chemist Challenges truly help push all students to pursue excellence and learn more about how chemistry can improve and innovate the lives of everyone.

“Tomorrow’s leaders are among these talented individuals and we can’t wait to see what they accomplish next,” said CEF Executive Director Dwayne Sattler.

And neither can we here at Coast Southwest! A huge congratulations goes out from us to Shreyas Arcot and all of the other competitors at this year’s National You Be the Chemist Challenge. We hope to see some of you back next year – and a fresh crop of young faces focused on the future of STEM in the U.S.A.

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