2016 National Finalists
The 20 USA Biology Olympiad National Finalists spent 12 days at the USABO National Finals on the campus of Marymount University, Arlington, VA, with the majority of their time in Caruthurs Science Building.
2016 USABO Finalist Bios
Varkey Alumootil | Canyon Crest Academy, San Diego, CA
Varkey Alumootil is a junior at Canyon Crest Academy. He participates in mathematics and science competitions and is a repeat invitee to the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME), as well as a qualifier for the USA Physics Olympiad (USAPhO). At his school, he is the President of the Physics Club and the Science Internship and Career Club. He also coaches high school and elementary school students in the Science Olympiad, attempting to instill a love of science in these students. He enjoys doing Quiz Bowl and Academic Team. In his free time, he runs cross country and reads.
Haydn Bradstreet | Davidson Academy, Reno, NV
Haydn Bradstreet is a senior at the Davidson Academy of Nevada and will attend Harvard University in the fall. He is interested in molecular biology and biochemistry, and has high hopes of becoming a researcher in one of these fields. He has been involved in cell biology research projects through his participation in the Research Science Institute (RSI) in 2015, as well as biochemistry projects at the University of Nevada, Reno. He has served as President of his school’s Science and Future Physicians Club, and as director of student training in Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA). He also is a member of his school’s Speech and Debate team, where he competes in the Lincoln-Douglas and Informative Speaking categories. He enjoys running cross-country, reading, and tutoring math.
Nanki Chugh | Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica, CA
Nanki Chugh is a sophomore at Santa Monica High School. She is a member of the Academic Decathlon Science and Ocean Bowl Teams, where she focuses on biology. Nanki is founder and president of Give A Life, a club dedicated to providing funds for medical treatment to children living in India with immune deficiency disorders. In addition, Nanki is an accomplished violinist and concertmistress of the Symphony Orchestra (first of seven orchestras) at Santa Monica High School. She has performed solo with orchestras multiple times, is an instrumentalist recipient of Palisades Alfred Newman Award, and performed in Tuscany, Italy with her string quartet in July 2014 as part of the Incontri in Terra di Sienna Music Festival (ITS). Nanki is a member of her school’s tennis team. In her free time, she enjoys reading, music, writing poetry, and watching Bollywood films.
Peter Dun | Canterbury High School, IN
Peter is a senior at Canterbury High School and will attend Stanford University next year. He placed second at the 2015 International Biology Olympiad (IBO) and is the founder and captain of his high school's Science Bowl team and USA Biology Olympiad (USABO) club. He qualified as a 2016 Intel Science Talent Search (STS) semifinalist and was a 2015 International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) finalist for his research on the immune properties of the bacterial CRISPR/Cas system. He is a two-time American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) qualifier, the editor-in-chief for his high school newspaper, an avid piano and hulusi performer, and a varsity tennis player.
Roger Jin | West Windsor Plainsboro High School North, Plainsboro, NJ
Roger is a senior at West Windsor Plainsboro High School North. He is an avid member of his school's Science Olympiad Team, USA Biology Olympiad (USABO) Club, and Tutoring Society. He previously has dabbled in National History Day (NHD) and the National Brain Bee (NBB). When Roger's not busy neglecting schoolwork or with the duties of servitude to one of his clubs, he enjoys sleeping in the library, playing chess with his friends, and playing the piano. Roger will be attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) this fall.
Bowen Jing | West Lafayette High School, IN
Bowen Jing is a sophomore attending West Lafayette High School in Indiana. His passion for biology is rooted in the belief that nature's innovations may offer solutions to society's greatest challenges. He is researching biosynthesis for potential industrial applications at Purdue University. The results of this year’s work earned a silver medal at the International Sustainable World Energy Engineering Environment Project Olympiad (I-SWEEEP). Bowen is also a two-time American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME) qualifier, founder of his school’s Science Bowl team, a member of the debate team, and an All-State Symphony Orchestra (ASSO) violinist. In his free time, he enjoys running and reading about cognitive science (although not simultaneously). Frequently, he can be found discoursing moral and educational theory.
Mihir Khambete | Cupertino High School, CA
Mihir Khambete is a junior at Cupertino High School. He has taken three college level courses in biology at the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) Intensive studies program. Mihir is a fluent, nonnative Mandarin speaker who represented the United States at the 2014 Chinese Bridge World Championships (WBSC), hosted by the Chinese Ministry of Education in Kunming, China. He is also a member of American MENSA and the Davidson Young Scholars (DYS) program. Mihir is president of his school’s Quiz Bowl Club and has led his team to win spots at the Partnership for Academic Competition Excellence (PACE) and National Academic Quiz Tournaments (NAQT) national championships. This summer, in addition to the USA Biology Olympiad (USABO), Mihir will be an intern at the Stanford Cardiothoracic Surgical Skills Summer Internship (SCSS). Mihir enjoys reading Wikipedia and swimming.
Jasper Lee | Princeton High School, Princeton, NJ
Jasper Lee is a junior at Princeton High School. He is a captain of his school’s Science Olympiad team, focusing on biology. He is also a member of his school’s Science Bowl team and founded his school’s Biology Olympiad Club. He has participated in crew since eighth grade; he tutors; and he serves as a student coach the middle school Science Bowl. This summer, he will intern at the Jasper enjoys playing video games, running, biking, and exploring the forests of New Jersey.
Rick Li | Naperville Central High School, Naperville, IL
Rick Li is a junior at Naperville Central High School. He is a captain of his school’s Science Olympiad team. In addition, he is a competitor in the school’s math team and volunteers as part of National Honors Society (NHS). Rick takes part in the Exemplary Student Research Program (ESRP) with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) where he is working with a scientist using X-ray crystallography to better understand the preservation of historical documents. Outside of science, he participates in the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) business club of which he is an International medalist. He likes to run, camp outdoors, and spend time with friends.
Rachana Mudipalli | Downingtown STEM Academy, Downingtown, PA
Rachana Mudipalli is a junior at the Downingtown STEM Academy. She is passionate about biological research and has won local, regional, and national recognition for her research. This year, she was selected as an Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) finalist for her work using the model organism Tetrahymena thermophila to elucidate the function of the malarial ATP synthase. At her school, Rachana is captain of the Science Olympiad team, founder and president of science fair club, and president of Model United Nations (Model UN) Club. She founded and heads STEM for STEM, a service group that holds science demonstration events to help get underserved Philadelphia students interested in STEM fields. When Rachana isn’t doing science, you can usually find her singing or doing science and singing. Rachana is a member of her school’s select choir and has performed at the district and regional level. In her free time, she enjoys reading and analyzing literature, writing down research ideas, biking, and baking.
Rahul Nagvekar | Dulles High School, Sugar Land, TX
Rahul Nagvekar is a senior at Dulles High School. In addition to the USA Biology Olympiad (USABO), he has enjoyed participating in the National Science Bowl (NSB), the US National Chemistry Olympiad (USNCO), and the National Geographic Bee (NGB). Through internships at the University of Texas Medical School, Rahul has completed research on cell division and disulfide bond formation in bacteria. He plays the piano, volunteers as a docent at Houston’s Museum of Natural Science, and reads about current affairs and politics. Rahul will be attending Yale University in the fall and eventually hopes to become a biomedical researcher.
Venkat Sankar | The Harker School, San Jose, CA
Venkat Sankar is a junior at The Harker School. He enjoys science research and has worked on independent and university-based projects spanning biology, environmental science, and bioinformatics. Venkat’s research has won him national and global awards: 2014, 2015 Siemens Semifinalist and 2013 Google Science Fair Global Finalist (GSFG). He likes Latin and the study of Greco-Roman culture, and has won state and national awards in Latin and Junior Classical League (JCL) competitions. Venkat is an officer of his school’s Research Club and Junior Classical League (JCL) Chapter, and is a member of the Science Bowl team. Venkat is an avid naturalist who is passionate about biodiversity and conservation.
Ashwin Srinivasan | Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA
Ashwin Srinivasan is a junior at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia. Ashwin is treasurer of his school’s Biology Olympiad Club. He placed 6th in the University of Toronto Biology Competition (UTNBC) last year. He also is a member of his school’s Japan Bowl Club and traveled to Japan after placing 2nd in the National Japan Bowl (NJB). He enjoys programming and has competed at the American Computer Science League All-Star Contest (ACSL-ASC). He also likes to travel and read maps, and has qualified for the US Geography Olympiad Nationals (USGO) for three years. Ashwin volunteers at the US Geological Survey (USGS) in their map making efforts and for the National Park Service (NPS) as a web page tester.
Alexander Tsao | Troy High School, Fullerton, CA
Alexander Tsao is a sophomore at Troy High School in Fullerton. He has been an active participant in both the Science and Biology Olympiads at his school. He placed in the top 50 for the 2015 USA Biology Olympiad (USABO) semifinals and achieved third place in the University of Toronto National Biology Competition (UTNBC). In the 2016 school year, he attended CodeQuest and placed second in his local American Chemistry Society (ACS) exam. Alexander participated in the national Science Olympiad Tournament (SOT) in May. While not competing or studying, he enjoys traveling and practicing with his school’s marksmanship team.
Catherine Wang | Lexington High School, Lexington, MA
Catherine Wang is a junior at Lexington High School. She is a captain of her school's National Science Bowl team and has competed at nationals throughout high school, taking 4th place in 2016. When not obsessively honing her buzzer speed, she dabbles in oil painting and interior design. She also enjoys meticulously planning travel itineraries, eating her way through large cities, and ranting to disinterested peers about her favorite phylum: Tardigrada. This summer she will be conducting research on schizophrenia at the Broad Institute.
Xuchen Wei | Carmel High School, IN
Xuchen Wei is a sophomore at Carmel High School. This is the first time he has made Nationals for the USA Biology Olympiad (USABO). He is the founder and president of his school's Biology Club and also a member of the Science Bowl. He enjoys debate. In his free-time, he likes to run long-distance and play the piano. It should also be noted that he has an irrational fondness for food photography, the Courier New font, and Art Deco architecture.
David Wu | Troy High School, Troy, MI
David is a senior at Troy High School. This will be his second year attending the USA Biology Olympiad (USABO) National Finals. He enjoys working in the laboratory and has worked on projects involving pancreatic cancer, diabetes, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, and ovarian cancer. His research has reached national recognition, the most notable being 2nd place at the Siemens Competition National Finals (SCNF), having been awarded a $50,000 scholarship with his research partner. David is the president of the Biology Club at Troy High and is part of the Science Olympiad team. When he is not engaged in science-related activities, David likes to volunteer through his school’s National Honor Society (NHS). In his leisure time, he enjoys playing piano, having board game nights with his friends, building computers, and watching TV.
Thomas Xiong | Seven Lakes High School, Katy, TX
Thomas Xiong is a junior at Seven Lakes High School. Interested in virtually all fields of science, Thomas has won multiple medals at the National Science Olympiad (NSO) tournament. He is a captain this year as his school attends its 6th consecutive Nationals. He qualified for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). Thomas is also an avid cellist, having served as the section leader for multiple orchestras, including the 2015-2016 Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) Philharmonic, the Seven Lakes High School Honor Orchestra, and the Houston Youth Symphony (HYS). He also serves as an officer in a local, student-run volunteer organization Song of Hope, which provides musical performances to local venues, including retirement homes and hospitals. Thomas enjoys practicing cello, hanging out with friends, and studying biology.
David Yang | Troy High School, Fullerton, CA
David Yang is a freshman at Troy High School. In 2016, he qualified for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME). He has participated in the 2015 American Regions Mathematics League (ARML), won gold and silver medals at the local 2016 Regional Science Olympiad (RSO), won the silver medal in Orange Country Bridge Building Contest (OCBBC) and placed third in the 2016 International Bridge Competition (IBC). He founded and is actively involved in the San Bernardino Math Circle (SBMC) and Bio Agents, both dedicated to spreading his passion for math and science with underprivileged children. In his spare time, David enjoys reading, exercising, and playing the cello.
Angela (Jamie) You | West Windsor- Plainsboro High School South, NJ
Angela (Jamie) You is a senior at West Windsor- Plainsboro High School South. As a 4-year USABO semifinalist, she is excited to finally attend the USABO National Finals. Jamie’s STEM career—nurtured by a childhood diet of Muse magazine and sensational tech news headlines—started in 7th grade with the Science Olympiad that has since grown to include the Science Bowl and National Oceanic Sciences Bowl (NSOB). Jamie has attended nationals for all three competitions and has also reached the semifinal levels of North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO) and United States of America Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO). When she is not reading biology textbooks or Wikipedia, she analyzes web comics, draws, writes, plays Pokémon and violin, and runs the school newspaper.