Luis Chávez, an 18-year-old with exceptional talent in chemistry, has been selected as one of the three representatives from El Salvador to participate in the 55th edition of the International Chemistry Olympiad. The prestigious event will take place in Zurich, Switzerland, from July 16th to 25th.
For Luis Ronaldo Chávez Escamilla, this opportunity represents not only an academic achievement but also a life-changing experience. He expressed, “It is one of the most important things in my life. It has shaped me as a person and helped me discover my passion and aspirations for the future.”
The Olympiad will witness the participation of approximately 84 countries, with an estimated three to four representatives per nation, making it a total of around 300 contestants.
Luis has dedicated himself to intense preparation ever since applying for the competition. As part of the Youth Talent program, he receives specialized training, which he refers to as “entrenos” or classes. He also spends time at home solving mathematical problems.
Acknowledging the challenges ahead, Luis said, “It is the most difficult part and requires months of preparation. However, this year, since I have completed my high school studies, I have dedicated myself to preparing for this competition. It is quite demanding.”
Luis’s participation in the Olympiad adds another achievement to his academic record. Even as a young child, he displayed remarkable dedication to his studies. He has previously competed in three other Olympiads, including two international and one national competition.
He recounted his journey, saying, “I developed a strong interest in mathematics at a young age, but it wasn’t until fifth grade, when my father brought a newspaper home, that I discovered my true passion. The National Mathematics Olympiad used to be published in the newspaper, and those who wished to participate had to solve specific problems and exams.”
At the age of 12, his father presented him with the newspaper as a challenge. Overcoming his initial apprehension, Luis took the exams and progressed to the subsequent stages. “Passing the first stage piqued my interest even more. I advanced to the second stage and qualified. That’s when I realized that I had a genuine talent for numbers,” he added.
In seventh grade, Luis took the exams for the Salvadoran Chemistry Olympiad (OSQ) for the first time. His participation earned him a place in the chemistry group of the Youth Talent program.
“Starting from seventh grade, they allow participation in certain Olympic groups for each science area. Chemistry always fascinated me, and my first class in the program was chemistry. The group has three levels: elementary, intermediate, and advanced. Over the years, I have progressed to the advanced level, which is the highest. Being part of these groups gives you the opportunity to take selective exams with all the classmates who qualified to participate in these international Olympiads,” he explained.
In 2021 and 2022, Luis had the opportunity to compete in the Salvadoran Chemistry Olympiad and the Ibero-American Chemistry Olympiad. Despite the virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he won two bronze medals. He also received a silver medal by participating in the World Applied Chemistry Olympiad (WAChO), organized by the Indonesian Scientific Society.
In the last Olympiad, Luis competed with a research project on sustainable chemistry. “I won my silver medal with a project on sustainable chemistry, which focused on generating electrical energy from wastewater,” he shared.
In 2022, Luis received a partial scholarship to study at the prestigious Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM) in Mexico, following his outstanding performance in the academic aptitude test.
According to the young talent, the test primarily evaluates language and mathematics skills. “My high school grades allowed me to apply for this type of scholarship based on academic talent,” Luis explained.
Luis Chávez’s remarkable journey in the field of chemistry and his selection as a representative of El Salvador in the International Chemistry Olympiad are testament to his dedication, passion, and academic excellence. The nation eagerly anticipates his participation and wishes him the best of luck in this global competition.