Honors and Awards

11/14/2018 - PHS student, Michelle L wins GOLD Medal at the 50th International Chemistry Olympiad

Michelle Lu, a junior at Pomperaug High School (PHS) in Southbury, CT, was one of four finalists who represented the United States at the 50th International Chemistry Olympiad on Team Alpha Lambda in Bratislava, Slovakia and Prague, Czech Republic, July 19th-29th, 2018 in a competition for gold, silver and bronze medals with peers from more than 70 nations.  Her accomplishments were recognized at the November 12th, 2018 Region 15 Board of Education meeting.

Pictured are Mr. Joshua Smith, Superintendent of Region 15 Schools, Michelle, Mr. Paul Jones, Principal of Pomperaug High School, and Mr. Chris Walsh, Math/Science Academic Department Chair at Pomperaug High School.

The members of the U.S. Team Alpha Lambda, which is sponsored by the American Chemical Society, included Lu, Yutong Dai of Princeton International School of Mathematics & Science in Princeton, NY; Jeffrey Shi of Marcellus High School in Marcellus, NY; and Andrew Wu of Park Tudor School in Indianapolis, IN.  Shi, Lu, Wu, and Dai placed 4th, 10th, 12th, and 13th, respectively, in the gold medal category at the International Chemistry Olympiad.

Michelle’s journey to the 2018 International Chemistry Olympiad includes significant accomplishments and recognitions in mathematics and chemistry competitions and exams.

In both 2017 and 2018, Michelle earned the opportunity to attend the Chemistry Olympiad Study Camp at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Nearly 17,000 students took a series of qualifying exams to compete to attend this camp and Michelle was only 1 of 20 students who was selected to participate.

Michelle was a finalist in both the 2017 and 2018 Advantage Testing Foundation’s Math Prize for Girls, the largest math prize for girls in the world.  Each fall at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, approximately 300 young female mathematicians compete in tests of mathematical creativity and insight.  Participation in this competition is considered a prestigious honor for the top female mathematical students in the United States and Canada.

Michelle was also a 2018 finalist in the American Mathematics Competition (AMC) 10/12.  This test is typically reserved for juniors and seniors and Michelle placed within the top 5% of all participants in the United States as a sophomore taking the AMC 10/12. As a result, her score qualified her for the American Invitational Mathematics Exam (AIME), the first in a series of exams that lead to participation in the USA Mathematical Olympiad, Junior Mathematical Olympiad, and for selection on the team to represent the United States at the International Mathematical Olympiad.

“Michelle’s accomplishments are nothing short of spectacular and represents the utmost example of determination and perseverance.  Her willingness to seek out opportunities to challenge herself and to continuously improve are attributes we hope all students strive for.  Michelle clearly sets an example for all students and adults alike,” said Christopher Walsh, Mathematics/Science Academic Chairperson at PHS.