Wednesday’s ceremony was held under unusual circumstances, but Aaron Xue appreciated it nevertheless.
Xue, a local student who graduated from the Oklahoma School of Science and Math this past summer, was one of 20 nationwide students selected for training for the 2019 International Chemistry Olympiad in Colorado Springs. The annual competition sees top chemistry students across the country compete in multi-tiered chemistry competitions.
OSSM had planned to present Xue a plaque from the American Chemistry Society for recognition of his achievement at the school’s late graduation in July, but Xue was out of the country and missed the ceremony. It forced two of his professors, Dr. Fazlur Rahman and Dr. Frank Wang, to find a creative way to present Xue his plaque.
Due to COVID-19, Rahman and Wang eventually settled on a small outdoor ceremony at Rahman’s house.
“I thought, ‘I could mail it to him,’ but I thought we could have a nice ceremony instead,” Wang said. “Dr. Rahman lives in Norman and Aaron lives in Norman, and because of COVID he’s learning remotely from home. So I thought it would be a good idea to have a ceremony and have his professor present him the plaque.”
Xue said he found a passion for science early in his life, which led him to OSSM. Xue is now taking classes at the University of Delaware and is seeking a degree in chemical engineering.
“In middle school, Dr. Wang was going to MATHCOUNTS competitions and advertising about OSSM,” Xue said. “I heard about that, and a lot of my friends were also talking about it. So I thought it sounded like a cool school. Then I went to one of their summer camps and I just fell in love with it. It was the best decision of my life.”
Xue said he was very appreciative of the ceremony.
“This is really great. Dr. Wang told me over the summer that my plaque was in his car and that he was just going to drive over to my house to bring it to me, and I thought that was it,” Xue said.
Dr. Rahman said he’s proud of Xue and other young students for pursuing their passion in science.
“We’ve proved that Oklahoma young people are great, and that they can do just as much as students in California, Texas or Massachusetts.”