Bullis competes in national Chemistry Olympiad

Published 4:22 pm Thursday, April 26, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Chilton County High School junior Josh Bullis was one of only 10 students in the state to participate in the National Chemistry Olympiad on April 20 at the University of Alabama Birmingham.

“They are really difficult,” Bullis said. “They are cumulative of all of chemistry from start to finish.”

The national test with lab work lasted from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“The lab was a great experience, to be in a college lab,” Bullis said.

Competitors completed two labs. The first dealt with color titration, analyzing a substance to determine what an unknown element is by adding color to it.

“We did a color titration to find out how much magnesium and chlorine is in cow’s milk,” Bullis said.

The second one involved orange and purple food coloring in a project dealing with mixing substances and colors.

A banquet celebration for the competitors is planned where Bullis will receive a plaque and a cash prize.

Rankings for the national test takers have not been released, yet. The top four students from this test will become the U.S. national team to compete at the international level.

His journey to the national test began with a test AP Chemistry teacher Jay LeCroy gave in class.

The top 10 scores advanced to the National Qualifying Test.

Bullis said he was surprised he scored well enough to be in the top 10.

“I thought I had done well on the local example, but I didn’t think I had done well enough to be in the top 10,” Bullis said.

Bullis took pre-AP Chemistry last year, and is in the AP Chemistry course this year.

“I wanted to become a chemical engineer, so I figured this would be a great class to take,” Bullis said.

Bullis hopes to one day be an engineer safety manager like his father.

“The pre-AP and AP Chemistry is a two-year program that covers all the aspects of chemistry that they would learn in college,” LeCroy said.

In preparation for the national Chemistry Olympiad test, Bullis studied questions from previous tests that have been made available and previous labs reports.

In 11 years of teaching, LeCroy said he has only had three students make it to the National Qualifying Test. He said the AP Chemistry class is a good preparation for students to compete in this event.

The Chemistry Olympiad is sponsored by American Chemical Society.