Students Get Serious About You Be The Chemist Competition

Competitor Sarah Gross pays close attention during the You Be The Chemist local challenge in Victoria, Texas.

Middle school students have been competing in You Be The Chemist® local challenges at many sites over the past several weeks.

In Plaquemine, La., 29 students gathered at the Math, Science & Arts Academy for the Dow Westside You Be the Chemist Challenge, with about 200 parents, teachers and community members there for support.

A You Be The Chemist (YBTC) local challenge brings top students from several schools together to test their knowledge of chemistry concepts, important discoveries, and chemical safety awareness. Dow is the competition’s national diamond sponsor, and also sponsors many local challenges, including the one in Victoria, Texas, where 36 top students from area schools gathered at Victoria East High School.

 “As impressed as I was with all the students' abilities, I was also impressed with the commitment that Dow showed to the event,” Diane Boyett, communications director for the Victoria school district, wrote in the Victoria Advocate, the local newspaper. “Multiple chemical engineers were on hand. There were demonstrations of experiments. It's part of the corporate commitment to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in schools.”

Dow volunteers also provided support at two local YBTC challenges in Indiana. The Dow AgroSciences Employee Development Center in Indianapolis hosted a competition, and among a group of DAS Science Ambassadors there to help was Mark Pobanz, who served as moderator. Dow volunteers also were in Kokomo when seven students competed in the local challenge there.

In Collegeville, Pa., 35 Montgomery County students met at the Dow Northeast Technology Center to compete. Before the competition, Dow scientists encouraged students to engage in simple, hands-on experiments to learn how chemistry can be fun.

“At Dow we are committed to supporting the next generation of scientists, engineers, chemists and innovators for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields,” said Abby Cook, Public Affairs manager, Dow Louisiana Operations.

YBTC local challenges continue in other communities. Top performers at these local challenges qualify for their respective state challenges. The winner of each state challenge moves on to the national championship, which will be June 23 at The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. For more information about You Be The Chemist, go to