Illinois 8th Grader Wins Chemical Industry Competition in IHS Chemical Week

Positive reaction: Christopher Pillay wins the 2008 YBTC challenge.

June 18, 2008 - Philadelphia, PA

By Esther D’Amico

Christopher Pillay, an eighth grader from Elk Grove Village, IL, beat out 11 other middle-school students last week to win the 2008 You Be the Chemist (YBTC) Challenge, a national chemistry competition sponsored by several groups including chemical companies. Ethan Li, an eighth grader from Bloomfield Hills, MI, and Nabil Shaikh, a seventh grader from Reading, PA, placed second and third place, respectively.

Pillay says he prepared for the question-and-answer competition with the help of his parents, who helped him pore over many pages of study materials to learn about chemistry concepts, discoveries, and safety. “My parents really pushed me to do it. My mom and I had a competition to see who could memorize the periodic table first,” Pillay says. “She won.”

The nine other students who made it to the nationals were: Mahala Curl of Brandenburg, KY; Kit Dunton of Fort Mill, SC; Raine Hasskew of Houston; Jeremiah Mitchel of Toledo, Ohio; Emily Pakulski of Washington, DC; Inderbir Singh of Baton Rouge, La; Andrew Stewart of Duncan, OK; Doug Streat of Norwalk, CT; and Elijah Stutzman of Davidson, NC.

Thousands of students from 12 states participated in regional and/or state-level YBTC competitions for a chance to get to the national challenge and win prizes including gift certificates and chemistry kits. This year’s competition drew nearly 100 industry representatives, educators, and parents and friends.

“Our goal is to create a program that brings together members of the chemical industry, local communities and especially the students and the educators within those communities to promote chemistry education and the importance of the chemical industry,” says the Chemical Education Foundation (Arlington, VA), which organizes the competition that is held at the Chemical Heritage Foundation (Philadelphia).

Link to IHS Chemical Week

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