Student Finalist in Biolympiad

Richard Zhu ’22 is a bronze medalist and one of twenty finalists, chosen from over 10,000 high school biology student applicants in the United States, who competed in the 18th Annual USA Biolympiad (USABO) National Finals. 

Zhu credits his classes and teachers at Peddie with nurturing his passion for biology. He has fond memories of dissecting squid in Meredith Salmon’s Marine Science class and putting the world under a microscope in Jennifer Terhaar’s Histology unit in Honors Anatomy & Physiology course. “I was looking at all these different tissue types under the microscope and learning about how these different shapes of cells contributed to their function,” said Zhu. “I’d never thought about all these intricate ways in which our bodies work.”

This interest in multiple disciplines of biology drove Zhu to seek out the USABO, a competition which seeks to inspire intellectual curiosity in students and provide them with the laboratory training and foundational skills to go on to incredible careers in the field of biology. 

The USABO National Finals run from July 7 to July 17, placing students in 10 days of rigorous virtual biology camp, including laboratory instruction and testing. “My hard work and perseverance in studying biology has paid off,” said Zhu, “and, in addition, I’m immersed with the other 20 finalists. We have such a great support group of teaching assistants and professors that are teaching us all these wonderful aspects of biology.”

As one of the co-leaders of Medicine at Peddie, a club devoted to exploring multiple disciplines of medical science, Zhu’s been inspired to begin developing a competitive branch of the club. “I’ve been thinking about how I wish a lot of other Peddie students could be exposed to plant anatomy and bioinformatics and all these different fields of biology as they relate to medicine,” said Zhu. “If we were to create a competitive branch of Medicine at Peddie, it would definitely help more students get interested in this field.”