Aspiring pharmacist wins gold in organic chemistry competition
A second-year LAU Byblos student ties for first place at the first-ever organic chemistry contest held in Lebanon.
An LAU student beat out 40 other teams from universities around the country, tying for first place at Lebanon’s first-ever Organic Chemistry Competition held at the American University of Beirut on February 7.
Even though his partner had to cancel at the last minute due to an emergency, Jad Abdul Samad, 19, a second-year pre-pharmacy student at LAU Byblos, was allowed to compete solo and shared the gold with a team from AUB after a tie in a sudden-death round.
“I am so excited for winning the competition, especially since mine was the only team without a teammate,” says Abdul Samad. “In addition, I feel happy for making the LAU faculty proud of my accomplishment. They always support me like a true family,” he adds.
The competition brought together 42 teams from AUB, LAU, Lebanese University, University of Balamand, Beirut Arab University, and Hariri Canadian University.
It was made up of Organic Chemistry I and II material presented in the form of multiple-choice questions with four-six possible choices. Students were given time to enter their answers using a remote response system. The top five fastest responders with the correct answers earned points (the fastest team received 50 points; the second team got 40 points; etc.).
In the end, Abdul Samad and the AUB team had the highest number of the fastest responses with correct answers.
Six teams represented LAU, guided by Dr. Brigitte Wex, assistant professor of chemistry at LAU Byblos.
“Jad was able to win because he excelled in my Organic Chemistry II course as well as Organic Chemistry I with Dr. Ahmad Houri,” says Wex, who also served as a score-keeping judge.
“Jad is smart, modest and has a pleasant personality,” adds Houri, associate professor of chemistry at LAU Beirut. “He had a good, thorough understanding of the material and quick reflexes that enabled him to win the first place.”
Abdul Samad transferred from Beirut to Byblos to apply for the B.S. in Pharmacy program.
“In five years, I hope to see myself as a Pharm.D./Ph.D. dual degree holder in pharmacy,” says Abdul Samad. “Pharmacy is the major I’ve always wanted to specialize in, specifically at LAU.”
Dr. Bilal Kaafarani, associate professor of organic chemistry at AUB, organized the competition in celebration of the International Year of Chemistry 2011 declared by UNESCO in cooperation with the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.