Joshua Bowman, a Northwest Rankin Middle School student, is going to Washington D.C. in June as the Mississippi champion of You Be The Chemist Challenge after he was selected as the winner of the competition held at Meridian Community College.
Bowman was excited about his win, defeating 31 other middle school students from Meridian, Union and Jackson-area schools. “I’ve always wanted to go to Washington,” he said after the award ceremony.
The You Be The Chemist Challenge® is an interactive academic contest that encourages students in grades 5-8 to explore chemistry concepts and their real-world applications. The challenge provides a unique opportunity for a variety of individuals and organizations—including schools, members of the chemical industry, educators and other community partners—to come together and show their support for STEM education. The competition is hosted by the Chemical Education Foundation.
Joining in the winners’ circle were Northwest Rankin classmates Andy Tran and Carson May, who came in second and fourth, respectively. Jonathan Shelton, from Union Middle School, received a third-place nod.
The state challenge was done in a quiz-bowl format with several rounds of multiple-choice questions. A wide variety of science questions was displayed on a screen for the students to answer from their tables. They used an electronic remote device to solve timed problems. Judges included MCC alumni Jaricus Whitlock, a chemical engineer, and Darrell Thompson, a polymer chemist.
Meridian Community College’s science division hosted the Meridian Challenge of You Be The Chemist in March and served as the host for the statewide event. MCC Chemistry Instructor Dr. Angie Carraway, who has organized four Meridian-based competitions is excited the contest is growing. “People need to be aware of STEM opportunities,” she said, adding, “our young people need to be encouraged with challenging activities.”
Photo: Winners of the You Be The Chemist Mississippi Challenge are, from left, Andy Tran, Carson May, Joshua Bowman and Jonathan Shelton. Meridian Community College hosted the state competition.