Outstanding high school chemistry students from across the region and beyond participated in the recent Middle Tennessee State University Department of Chemistry Scholarship Tournament.
Held in the Science Building in early November, the competition recognized 25 outstanding chemistry students from 12 schools in Rutherford and surrounding counties, and an out-of-state entry from Norcross, Georgia.
Incentives included scholarships to attend MTSU and cash awards to the top three finishers and top junior from the 90-minute exam based on general chemistry that a high school student would have covered.
While on campus, they received an up-close look at the facilities as the consider MTSU as their college choice. The tournament is a way for the Chemistry Department to recruit exceptional students for 2023 and beyond.
Participants included seniors who had completed a year of chemistry and qualified juniors.
Students came from Rockvale and Siegel high schools and Central Magnet School in Rutherford County; Hendersonville High School in Sumner County; Independence, Ravenwood, Summit and Brentwood high schools in Williamson County; DeKalb County High School in Smithville; Coffee County Central High School in Manchester; Hillwood High School in Nashville; and James Madison High School in Norcross.
Ashima Grover of Franklin, a Ravenwood senior, earned first place and received a $2,000 MTSU scholarship and $500 cash award. Central Magnet senior Andrew Neal of Murfreesboro placed second and won a $1,500 scholarship and $300 cash prize. Central Magnet’s Hope Patterson placed third, earning a $1,000 scholarship and $100 in cash.
Jackson “Jack” Stinson, of Spring Hill, was the top junior. The Summit student earned $100.
“I am glad we were able to reach the students in our surrounding counties and beyond, such as Smithville and even Georgia,” said Mengliang “Mike” Zhang, assistant professor and 2022 tournament chair.
After the chemistry exam, the students enjoyed presentations from the interim Chemistry Chair Andrienne Friedli, program advising office (Candyce Roberson) and four MTSU students, Zhang said.
“The students also had a fun time watching a demonstration in my group to see how to detect trace chemicals from a $5 bill in seconds with an analytical instrument called DART-MS, which is widely used in forensic labs,” Zhang added.
The participants toured the 250,000-square-foot Science Building and enjoyed lunch with Friedli and College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Greg Van Patten, the former chair of the Chemistry Department. He shared remarks and presented students with their awards at the Nov. 5 event.
Chemistry is one of 11 College of Basic and Applied Sciences departments.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)