Anushka and Anjali Walia, of Fremont, Calif., Indian American twin sisters, have been named among the 20 finalists by the American Chemistry Society for the U.S. Chemistry Olympiad team. The 15-year-old Walia sisters, juniors at Fremont-based Irvington High School, and 18 others from across the country are vying for the four open spots on the Olympiad team that will travel to the Eastern European city Tbilsi in Georgia for the 48th International Chemistry Olympiad.
This is Anjali’s first opportunity at making the U.S. team, while Anushka was a top 20 student in 2015. The finalists were selected from a series of exams. More than 16,000 students throughout the U.S. participated in the exams, with the top 20 selected to take part in a two-week study camp at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va.
The camp began May 31, during which the students will receive college- and graduate-level training with a focus on organic chemistry through June 15. Additionally, they are participating in a series of lectures, problem-solving exercises, lab work and testing.
Upon the conclusion of the camp, the top four students, as well as two alternates, will be selected to be part of the U.S. team. Also competing for the Olympiad team are Miles Dai, Brendan Yap, Allen Zhang, Brian Daniels, Lily Ireton, Alex Liu, Steven Liu, Benjamin Nguyen, Zilu Pan, Eric Qian, Yusha Sun, Kevin Tang, Joyce Tian, Harrison Wang, Shannon Weng, Junyu Yang and Lillian Zhu.
The Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio-based American Chemical Society is a 157,000-member nonprofit chartered by the U.S. Congress. It is one of the world’s largest scientific societies, providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. The International Chemistry Olympiad, pitting teams from more than 70 nations, is scheduled to run from July 23 through Aug. 1.