WASHINGTON, Feb. 6, 2012 — Elmer Huaihan Tan, a senior at John P. Stevens High School in Edison, N.J., will attend the second annual White House Science Fair on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Tan is one of about 100 students nationwide who was invited to participate in this prestigious event. His name was put forward by the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, because he was one of four students who represented the United States at the International Chemistry Olympiad in Turkey last summer, where he brought home a silver medal.
An accomplished science and math student, Tan won fifth place in the Princeton University Mathematics Competition in 2010 and first place in the N.J. Chemistry II League in 2011. He passed the American Mathematics Competition 12 in 2010 and 2011.
Enthusiasm for chemistry runs in the family. His parents hold degrees in chemistry from the University of Minnesota. His mother, Li Li, holds a master’s degree and works at Bristol Myers Squibb. His father, Lushi Tan, holds a doctorate degree, and works at Merck.
“ACS is pleased that President Obama recognizes students for their success in science,” said ACS President Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, Ph.D. “In our society we often celebrate outstanding athletes, and perhaps take for granted the academic achievers. But it’s students like Elmer Tan who will drive innovation and solve the global challenges of this world, like providing clean water, an adequate food supply and life- saving medicines to all people on the planet.”
“I am very grateful for the ACS, my teachers, and especially my parents for providing me so much moral support as I've worked on studying chemistry for the past three years,” said Tan. “With their standing behind me, my hard work has paid off.”
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The American Chemical Society is a nonprofit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. With more than 164,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.