2014 USABO Finalists Jeff Chow and Austin Wang


2013, 2014 & 2015 USABO Finalist Kevin Bao (left).

          Imagine 3 high school students taking Biology classes from the same Biology teacher for 20 weeks, and then, after 2 rounds of the biggest Biology competition in America, all 3 of them are invited to the Finals, where only the top 20 Biology students in America can attend.

          Sounds too good to be true? It actually happened in 20014. The 3 students’ names are Austin Wang, Kevin Bao, and Jeff Chow, and the competition is the USA Biology Olympiad.

          The USA Olympiads are five of the most prestigious academic competitions in America. Making the Semifinals or the Finals of any of the Olympiads will help students be accepted to the colleges of their dreams such as Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and MIT. The USA Biology Olympiad is arguably the most important of them. After all, Biology is the foundation of medicine and biotechnology. If a student wants to become a pre-med in college, it’s the USA Biology Olympiad that will impress colleges the most.

          Of the three 2014 USA Biology Olympiad Finalists trained by Cambridge, only Kevin has been to the Finals before. He began studying Biology with Dr. Lin in 9th grade, making the Semifinals that year and the Finals the next year. Being invited to the Finals again in 2014 is not a surprise, because Biology is Kevin’s favorite subject, and he is able to study Biology all day long, carrying the Biology textbook with him wherever he goes. Studying Biology with Dr. Lin at Cambridge helped Kevin succeed in Science Olympiad as well. This year, the Troy High School Science Olympiad team is the national champion, and Kevin’s #1 placement in Biology-related events definitely helped his high school win.

          This is the first time in the Finals for both Jeff Chow and Austin Wang, both of whom also studied with Dr. Lin for only one year. Austin Wang is a perfect example of why you should never give up and that perseverance, as well as seeking the right help, will eventually pay off. He competed in the USA Biology Olympiad before in his freshman and sophomore years, failing to make the Finals each time by a few points. In his junior year, he decided to attend the Advanced Biology Olympiad course at Cambridge under Dr. Lin. Austin's USABO Semifinal performance improved from 3 points below cutoff to 21 points above the cutoff. He is now one of the top 20 Biology students in America.

          Even though Jeff Chow was able to get into the Finals in just his first year competing, he has been studying Biology very diligently as well, and his Finals berth is well-deserved.

          Dr. Lin is a medical doctor who now devotes his time training students to compete in Biology competitions such as the USA Biology Olympiad as well as teaching SAT and AP Biology. He is very gratified to see three of his students in the USA Biology Olympiad Finals in 2014. However, his ultimate goal is to motivate his students to work for the benefit of all humanity through biological research and community service.