The Hanoitimes - With the silver medal for biology, Nguyen Phuong Thao from High School for Gifted Students under the Hanoi University of Science (Vietnam National University) is the only female student and the youngest (born in 2000) of the Vietnamese group participating in all of subjects of this year International Olympiad.
Coming back to Vietnam from the U.K, Nguyen Phuong Thao still could not forget the instance when the Organizing Committee called out students with medals. “My two hands turned cold, and I held my breath waiting for the moment when my name would be hailed,” Thao recalled. In the Biology International Olympiad, Thao was one of the two Vietnamese students winning silver medals, contributing to the best achievements of the Biology team in the history of joining this competition. Thao shared that the love for biology came to her suddenly. “When I was in 9th grade, my family bought a new TV so I could see a lot of channels. Particularly, after watching Discovery and other programs on the animal world, I found that there were so many mysteries in the nature. From that point on, I decided to pursue biology to solve those mysteries.” – Thao shared.
Thao said that after one year focusing on Biology, Thao won the first prize in the Hanoi Gifted Students Examination at the end of 9th grade. In addition, she became the dignitary of the biology specialized class of the High School for Gifted Students under the Hanoi University of Science (Vietnam National University). Under the guidance of teachers, Thao had the opportunities to study more thoroughly, soon to achieve the second prize of the national competition. She has also participated in multiple international competitions since 11th grade. “Biology links to many subjects and consists of many distinct characteristics. Therefore, without enough passion, rarely anyone could conquer this subject. On the surface, Biology is dry with fragmented pieces of knowledge. However, in reality, everything connects tightly with each other in biology” – Thao commented. Additionally, Thao shared that she often studies by visualizing information into models, images and models in order to see the connection between pieces of knowledge, thus deducting all information to the most condensed form.
Nguyen Phuong Thao at the award ceremony.
In the last International Biology Olympiad, Thao was the only 11th grade student in Vietnam team. “Studying biology is the process of knowledge accumulation. As I am just in 11th grade, my knowledge in this field is not as much as others in my team. So if it were not for self-studying, I could not have had attained this achievement” – Thao emphasized. The student from Hanoi also regards highly the importance of group study. As the youngest member of the team, Thao frequently asks others about knowledge she does not understand. Sharing her experience on the recent contest, Thao said she did the theory part better than the practical one. In previous years, there were 4 laboratories and students have 90 minutes to complete the practical part. But this year there were 3 laboratories with 120 minutes. So the longer the time was, the more pressure was put on her. However, Thao said the theory part was quite interesting with a lot of lively pictures.
Speaking about luck for winning the silver medal, but Thao is very proud of her achievement as the only girl member in the Mathematics, Physic, Chemistry and Biology Olympiad Team from Vietnam won a prize. “Male students always have advantages in natural science subjects, but with that prize I want to prove that female is also very determined and capable of conquering any challenge” – Thao convinced.
The 28th IBO was was held at the University of Warwick, Coventry, the UK from July 23-30, with the participation of 245 contestants from 68 countries and territories. Vietnamese Team consists of 4 contestants and won 3 prizes, in which 12th grader Truong Dong Hung from Hue High School for the Gifted won the only gold medal for Vietnam. The two remaining silvers went to Duong Tien Quang Huy from Lam Son High School for the Gifted in Thanh Hoa province and Nguyen Phuong Thao from High School for Gifted Students under the Hanoi University of Science, Vietnam National University. With this result, Vietnam ranked 12th overall, following the success by other teams attending Mathematical, Physics and Chemistry Olympiads. At the IBO 2016 hosted by Vietnam, the hosts won a gold, a silver and two bronze medals.
Thu Anh - Nguyen Tung