Roosevelt Graduate Places in Top 50 of All High School Chemistry Students in the U.S.

A recent Des Moines graduate is among the top chemistry students in the nation, according to the U.S. Chemistry Olympiad sponsored by the American Chemical Society. Joel Schneider, a 2011 Roosevelt High School graduate who also took classes at Central Academy, recently achieved scores on a series of tests that place him in the top 50 of all chemistry students in the country.

Schneider, who will attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the fall, left an impression on his teachers and peers at Central Academy.

“Joel is one of the top five students that I have had in 33 years of teaching,” said Jeff Hepburn, Central Academy AP and IB chemistry teacher. “He thrives on learning and easily grasps any chemical knowledge. He is a true inspiration to other students and motivates many of them to perform to the best of their ability.”

The Chemistry Olympiad begins with nearly 600 regional competitions around the country involving nearly 10,000 top chemistry students. In Des Moines, nearly 70 students completed the challenging test at Central Academy to qualify for the national level competition.

Central Academy students winning the upper level regional competition (required to have two or more years of AP or IB chemistry) were: Joel Schneider, senior, Roosevelt High School (first); Megan Mansfield, junior, Roosevelt High School (second); and Xiaoxue Liu, junior, Roosevelt High School (third). Central Academy students winning the lower level regional competition (required to have one year of high school chemistry) were: Granger Carty, freshman, Roosevelt High School (first place tie); Patrick Hiatt, freshman, Roosevelt High School (first place tie); and Edel Aron, freshman, Roosevelt High School (third place).

Following the regional competition, one thousand students from across the country compete in the national competition, where they are assessed in 10 separate chemistry topics.

Six students from Central Academy were eligible for the national competition and all scored above average in at least half of the categories in the national competition. In addition to Schneider, DMPS students who participated in the competition were: Braden Edwards, junior, Lincoln High School; Alex Feldstein, senior, Bondurant-Farrar High School; Alick Feng, senior, Valley High School; Mark Gee, sophomore, Johnston High School; and Megan Mansfield, junior, Roosevelt High School.

Central Academy chemistry teachers are Jeff Hepburn and Scott Schoneberg.