Stacy Zhang, 11, won state in the “You Be The Chemist Challenge” in Houston. Zhang was one out of 42 students to compete in the YBTCC Nationals in Washington D.C. (Contributed photo)

One Travis Middle School student represented her school and Port Lavaca in Washington DC in the “You be the Chemist” National Challenge in June.

According to a press release from the Chemical Educational Foundation (CEF), hosted their 15th annual You Be The Chemist Challenge in Washington DC.

CEF is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring students to pursue chemistry and STEM-related learning and careers, according to the press release.

Forty-two students represented their states at the competition as state champions, and one of the 42 was 11-year-old Travis Middle School student, Stacy Zhang.

In April Zhang won the “You Be The Chemist Challenge” state competition held in Houston. Zhang was 1 of 10 students to qualify for the state competition, and she was shocked that she won state and was advancing to nationals.

“I was really shocked and excited because I didn’t think I was going doing on my first try,” Zhang said.

Zhang added that she didn’t have much experience with chemistry before entering the competition.

Zhang’s father, Lei Zhang, was shocked to see his daughter win state and said he never pushed hard to study chemistry.

“It took me a while to realize that we needed to study more to prepare for the national championship.” Lei Zhang said.

Lei added that it took a month and a half to help Stacy prepare for the national competition.

According to Lei Zhang, the CEF provided the study material for the national competition. He added that Stacy needed to use her sister’s [Jessica Zhang] high school textbook in preparation for the state competition.

“For the state competition, the high school textbook was enough, but for the national competition, the high school textbook was not enough.”

He added that during the national competition Stacy had to advance and study at the college level.

Stacy said it was a big honor to represent the whole state, her town, and her school. She added that 60,000 students were trying to get that chance to win state, and she felt proud to be one of the students to get that chance.

Zhang would like to thank her dad, Lei Zhang, for accompanying her during studying, watching videos, and solving all the problems. Lei added that, as a parent, he would like to thank the school for giving Stacy an opportunity.

“Without this program, we would have never won the state championship,” Lei Zhang said.

He also added he would like to thank the teachers, Lorie Becker and Brittany Ondreas.