We are proud to share the list of 2017 National You Be The Chemist Challenge® participants! Each student was the victor in their state and will join us on June 19 in Washington, DC to compete for the title of National Challenge Champion.



Shreyas Arcot
Grade Level: 6
George H. Moody Middle School
Glen Allen, VA
“This is my second consecutive year at the National Challenge. I’m very excited that I made it again. Wow! I would love to see all the repeat contestants from last year and make friends with new ones. I plan to do my best in the competition and enjoy the celebrations.”

Aadarsh Balaji
Grade Level: 7
Garnet Valley Middle School
Garnet Valley, PA
“As president, I would have a pet peregrine falcon in the White House, because of three reasons. They are my favorite animal, they look super cool, and they are unique in that they are the world’s quickest animal, being able to dive at 240 miles per hour.”

Ameya Belamkar
Grade Level: 8
Creekside Middle School
Carmel, IN
“When the You Be The Chemist Challenge® was first introduced to my school in my sixth grade, I had little experience with science. My parents encouraged me to take the opportunity, and ever since, I’ve had a passion for science.”

Neil Chowdhury
Grade Level: 7
Odle Middle School
Bellevue, WA
“One time, when I was very young, I was invited to a science-themed birthday party. The host created slime by reacting a few chemicals in solution. This intrigued me and made me want to learn more, and this sparked my interest in science, especially chemistry.”

Rory Cole
Grade Level: 7
Minnetonka Middle School West
Excelsior, MN
“I’ve been to Washington before and am looking forward to vsiting some of the museums that I haven’t seen. It feels exciting to qualify for the national finals for something.”

Henry Demarest
Grade Level: 8
Irvington Middle School
Tarrytown, NY
“My father has ancestors who immigrated to this country in the 1600s, before it was the United States of America. He even has ancestors who fought in the American Revolution to help create this government we see in Washington, DC. My mother is descended from Jewish immigrants who fled Eastern Europe at the turn of the 20th century and entered the U.S. at Ellis Island. Both sides of my family have taught me how special this country is.”

Rylee Eaton
Grade Level: 8
Deer Isle Stonington Elementary School
Little Deer Isle, ME
“I live on a small island off the coast of Maine. We have about 250 students total enrolled in kindergarten through twelfth grades in our school. I live in a lobster fishing community and it is known as the lobster capital of the world.”

Sashank Ganapathiraju
Grade Level: 7
Davis Drive Middle School
Cary, NC
“I would like to share that I was born to Indian parents in a Hindu family, but was born in Canada, and later moved to the United States. I was fortunate to be exposed to multiple different cultures.”

Kylette Garcia
Grade Level: 6
Mesa View Elementary School
Grants, NM
“I am mostly looking forward to riding in an airplane and going to Washington for the first time!”

Sean Grace, Jr.
Grade Level: 8
Grace Christian Academy
Knoxville, TN
“I am most excited to experience the National Challenge in Washington, DC this year! This is my third year attending so I hope to win in DC!”

Jonathan Gunasekaran
Grade Level: 7
Ruston Junior High School
Ruston, LA
“When I was a small boy, I use to wonder why and how two white lines appear behind jet planes in the sky, then the lines disappear, so I asked my dad what is the reason. He explained it to me and that sparked my interest in science!”

William Hardy
Grade Level: 8
Park View Middle School
Cranston, RI
“I would bring a domestic house cat to the White House. Cats are such great pets — I wouldn’t need to bring anything more exotic. I would rather pet a cat than a lion!”

Isaiah Hazelwood
Grade Level: 8
BASIS Scottsdale
Scottsdale, AZ
“I would like to share that my mom’s family is Chinese and my dad’s family is American. My mom’s parents lived in Cambodia, but moved to America as refugees.”

Marcus Ho
Grade Level: 7
Catlin Gabel School
Portland, OR
“My interest in science was sparked by reading a lot of books! It also helps to have two parents with backgrounds in science.”

Janvi Huria
Grade Level: 8
Crestview Middle School
Chesterfield, MO
“Throughout my childhood, I was always curious about why and how something occurred. This soon translated into a love of science. Science helps explain everything from quantum numbers of electrons to the theory of dark matter. For this reason, science is my biggest interest today and always will be.”

Aditi Kona
Grade Level: 7
North Oldham Middle School
Prospect, KY
“If I were president, I would bring a blob fish as a pet to the White House. People are comfortable with cats and dogs as pets — and this would introduce them to something really different and unique.”

Gavin Kratcha
Grade Level: 5
Hankinson Public School
Hankinson, ND
“I’d like to share that my home in North Dakota is located in the Red River Valley, which is known as an agricultural area. I come from a small town in a rural area.”

Maddox Lister
Grade Level: 8
Mount Ogden Junior High School
Ogden, UT
“I’m most excited to visit Washington, DC for the National Challenge, a place I have never been before.”

Aristo Liu
Grade Level: 8
Copley Fairlawn Middle School
Akron, OH
“I would bring a pet bat to the White House because they lower the mosquito populations inside the building.”

Steven Lynch
Grade Level: 8
Clarksville Junior High School
Scranton, AR
“I am most looking forward to gaining knowledge of chemistry and learning ways to apply this knowledge. I look forward to meeting real chemists and becoming aware of different career paths available to chemists.”

Vishanth Murugesan
Grade Level: 7
Home School
Gotha, FL
“I would like to bring a turtle as my pet to the White House because of the qualities they possess, like peacefulness (maybe it’s because they are
slow) and because their shells look cool.”

Tristan Niewenhuis
Grade Level: 6
Brandon Valley Intermediate School
Brandon, SD
“I would like to share that my 96-year-old great-grandpa fought in World War II so I would like to go to the World War II Memorial while in Washington, DC.”

Minh Phan
Grade Level: 7
Liberty Middle School
Madison, AL
“I would have a pet parrot at the White House so that when I had something important to remember, I would tell the parrot and it would memorize the note. Then I would be reminded to do it when needed.”

Matthew Propp
Grade Level: 8
The Westminster Schools
Atlanta, GA
“I would like to share that I have moved four times in my life. I have lived in Denver, Washington, DC, Chicago, and I now live in Atlanta, Georgia. Having the experience of living in different parts of the United States has exposed me to various U.S cultures. This has shaped me to be the person I am today.”

Suya Que
Grade Level: 7
Ames Middle School
Ames, IA
“I am most looking forward to learning more about chemistry and interacting with others at the National Challenge.”

Hari Rajesh
Grade Level: 7
Benjamin Franklin Middle School
Ridgewood, NJ
“My interest in science was sparked when I was in first and second grade and I started watching shows about space. I began tuning into the Science Channel more and more often. Eventually, the subject of chemistry came to me from my dad and I read a lot of books to get to where I am now.”

Svanik Ravi
Grade Level: 8
Lamar School
Meridian, MS
“I always wondered what the world was made of. I wanted to know how everything worked, and how everything is made. TV shows like “Bill Nye the
Science Guy” sparked my interest in science because they made science seem fun and exciting.”

Samuel Rhee
Grade Level: 8
Maret School
Washington, DC
“I’d bring a pet rock to the White House because it’s super low maintenance, which is the best trait for a pet to have. It even beats fish in terms of how little it cares about getting attention from you and is about as interesting.”

Juan Miguel Rivera Díaz
Grade Level: 8
Escuela Especializada en Ciencias y Matemáticas
Genaro Cautiño Vázquez
Guayama, PR
“I would like to share that I am a ‘semi-rural’ Puerto Rican of mixed ethnicity. The island is one with varied landscapes including rainforest, mangrove forests, dry forests, grasslands, beaches, cave systems, and mountains. Due to its location and shape, the island is prone to earthquakes, tsunamis, extreme seiches, tropical waves, tropical cyclones and weather fronts. The culture and ethnicity are mixed with African, Indian and European (mostly Spanish) elements.”

Ananthan Sadagopan
Grade Level: 8
Sarah W. Gibbons Middle School
Westborough, MA
“Participating in the Challenge sparked my interest in science. In 6th grade when I qualified for the National Challenge, it made me take science more seriously. It also made me realize the numerous opportunities in the field.”

Nikhil Seshadri
Grade Level: 8
Standley Middle Scool
San Diego, CA
“I would like to bring a cat (the Chemistry Cat) to the White House as my pet. I like cats because they are graceful, playful, intelligent and purrfect!”

Zaid Siddiqui
Grade Level: 8
Detroit Country Day School
Bloomfield Hills, MI
“If I were president, I would bring a penguin to the White House because I find their activities very interesting.”

Edward Sizemore III
Grade Level: 8
Sissonville Middle School
Charleston, WV
“I would like to share that my family background is varied and includes Scots-Irish, German, Polish, and Native American.”

Kai Svenson
Grade Level: 8
Tilden Middle School
Kensington, MD
“I look forward to seeing how I stand against the other great minds of the nation at the National Challenge, and hopefully boosting my confidence in science to become the great scientist I want to be.”

Ryan Swanson
Grade Level: 8
Nature Hill Intermediate School
Ixonia, WI
“I would like to share that the mascot for the city in which I was born, Rhinelander, is a Hodag. A Hodag is a mythical lizard with fangs that roams the northern woods of Wisconsin.”

Triloshan Thillaikumaran
Grade Level: 8
Rochambeau Middle School
Southbury, CT
“I am looking most forward to meeting new people there, and also just learning even more about chemistry at the National Challenge!”

Abigail Thomas
Grade Level: 7
Academy for Science and Design
Nashua, NH
“My interest in science was sparked when my parents encouraged me to find out how things worked and why things happened the way they did. They showed me how cool science was at an early age and have helped me every step of the way.”

Asher Wallen
Grade Level: 7
Buist Academy
Mount Pleasant, SC
“I would like to share that my dad’s side of the family has Jewish ancestry. Although we do not actively practice Judaism, we still celebrate Hanukkah with a menorah. My mom’s parents were both born in India, and they practice Hinduism today. We meet at their house for Diwali in the late fall, and we all enjoy eating spicy Indian food!”

Megan Waters
Grade Level: 8
Duncan Middle School
Duncan, OK
“I’m from a small town. I live on a farm with 24 goats!”

Linus Wise
Grade Level: 7
Holy Angels School
Newark, DE
“I would like to share my deep American roots on both sides of my family. My mother’s family hails from Pennsylvania and my father’s from Virginia and North Carolina. Our family has a ‘blue collar work ethic,’ with multiple generations working as farmers, steel workers, and coal miners. The desire to work hard and build things that last is one of the ways that helped build the United States into what it is today. I believe that hard work coupled with treating others as you would have them treat you is a recipe for success in any country or culture.”

Jessica Zhang
Grade Level: 8
Travis Middle School
Port Lavaca, TX
“I am most looking forward to meeting new people from across the nation at the National Challenge. I am also looking forward to touring Washington, DC and getting to see the White House, Lincoln Memorial, and many others. My visit will be the highlight of my year.”

Lawrence Zhao
Grade Level: 7
Next Generation School
Champaign, IL
“I would bring a pet penguin to the White House. First of all, no president has ever had a pet penguin. Also, penguins are cool and they are fun to watch.”