Academy, St. John’s take first place in UOG’s chemistry competition
High school students from St. John’s School and the Academy of Our Lady of Guam took the first-place trophies at the 14th annual University of Guam Chemistry Titration Competition that was held during UOG’s Charter Day on March 2. This year’s competition hosted the largest number of competitors to date, with 36 students from nine high schools.
Hosted by the chemistry faculty under the UOG College of Natural & Applied Sciences and with chemistry majors serving as the judges, the two-part competition tests students’ lab skills and precision in determining the concentration of a base and the mass of an acid through titration, or volume measurement.
“I enjoy titrating and working with my team,” said Kai-Li Updegrove, a 12th grade St. John’s student who took first in both the individual and team competitions. “Math isn’t my strongest subject, but the competition helped me improve my math skills when we completed the calculations.”
Former competition participants have gone on to study chemistry at UOG and then to obtain advanced degrees. Karen Bacalia, a winner of the 2016 competition while attending Academy of Our Lady, went on to earn dual bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and agriculture from UOG in 2021 and is now working on a doctorate in nutritional sciences at Rutgers University – New Brunswick in New Jersey. Allen Marc Soriano, a student from Father Dueñas Memorial School who won in 2009, earned a biology degree from UOG and is now a licensed pharmacist at Guam Regional Medical City.
The dean of the college, Dr. Lee Yudin, encouraged the participants to consider continuing their interest in science at UOG.
“We have a wonderful dual degree program in chemistry and biology, and we have many graduates who go on to medical school,” he said. “You have greater advantage getting into top-notch medical schools in the mainland coming from a small institution and being a Pacific Islander.”
The winners of the competition were:
- 1st place: Kai-Li Updegrove, St. John’s School
- 2nd place: Joseph Rion Ordonez, Okkodo High School
- 3rd place: Alfred Joshua Morales, St. John’s School
- 1st place: Kai-Li Updegrove and Liam Padua, St. John’s School
- 2nd place: Seohee Min and Alfred Joshua Morales, St. John’s School
- 3rd place: Everett Singleton and Bernard Malicsi, Father Dueñas Memorial School
Best Laboratory Skill
- 1st place: Arlett Mikayla Fojas, Academy of Our Lady of Guam
- 2nd place: Thomas Benzon, Father Dueñas Memorial School
- 3rd place: Ashling Wade-Dickins, Notre Dame High School
The other participating high schools were John F. Kennedy High School, George Washington High School, Tiyan High School, and Harvest Christian Academy. (UOG)