Dermot Curtin wins New Jersey state chemistry competition sponsored by BASF and Brenntag

He will face off against other state champions at the National You Be The Chemist Challenge® in June

FLORHAM PARK, NJ, April, 30, 2014 – Dermot Curtin, an eighth-grade student from Ridgedale Middle School in Florham Park, New Jersey, competed against 27 other fifth through eighth grade students to win the New Jersey state You Be The Chemist Challenge®. He will represent New Jersey at the 10th annual national You Be The Chemist Challenge® in Philadelphia, PA, in June.

Developed by the Chemical Educational Foundation® (CEF), the Challenge is an exciting question-and-answer competition that allows students to test their knowledge of chemistry concepts, scientific theories and laboratory safety as they compete to represent their state on a national level. The Challenge program relies on partnerships between various community members seeking to foster student engagement with science, including industry, schools, universities and community organizations.

BASF Corporation and Brenntag North America are sponsors of the National Challenge. Both companies also sponsored the New Jersey state competition, which was held at BASF’s North American headquarters building in Florham Park.

U.S. Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen and State Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, both strong supporters of science education, attended the Challenge on April 26 to meet the students and encourage their pursuit of science. Jasey took the podium to moderate questions for one of the tie breaker lightning rounds.

“It was a privilege to moderate BASF’s You Be The Chemist Challenge and meet so many talented middle school students,” Jasey said. “These scholars are all winners on the path to bright futures in science, technology, engineering, math and the health professions. Congratulations to BASF for its extraordinary commitment to promoting STEM opportunities for all students.”

“As the world’s largest chemical company, BASF certainly understands the importance of engaging students in science education at an early age,” said Robin Rotenberg, Vice President, Communications, BASF North America. “Our strength as a company lies in our ability to find innovative solutions to meet the needs of the future, and therefore, it is essential that we support and develop the best scientific and technical talents.”

“Brenntag has been a national sponsor for eight years, beginning with a challenge in Pennsylvania where our North American headquarters is located,” said Michele Margherita, Brenntag Specialties Senior Account Executive and NJ State Co-coordinator of the YBTC Challenge. “It has been extremely rewarding to expand this program to NJ schools and see our students excel in the sciences as a result. I am proud of Brenntag’s growth of support across the entire US and the difference we are making in the future of the participating students.”

At the national competition on June 23, the top four finalists will receive scholarships totaling $15,000 for future educational use. In addition to the competition and prizes, all participants, chaperones, and a nominated educator from each state will be treated to various activities in historic Philadelphia, such as a Day of Science Discovery at The Franklin Institute (an interactive science museum) and a celebration dinner at the National Constitution Center.

“The Challenge enlivens the learning experience for participating students and encourages them to explore the world of science and chemistry beyond what is taught in the classroom,” stated CEF’s Executive Director, John Rice. “CEF is continually impressed by Challenge participants’ grasp of scientific concepts and dedication to expanding their science knowledge.

As CEF celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Challenge, we are eager to see how past and future participants will contribute their talents to the scientific community.”

Four students took the top spots in the New Jersey State You Be The Chemist Challenge. From left are Molly Rosig, NJ State Challenge coordinator for BASF; 1st runner up Achintya Saxena, Ridgedale Middle School, Florham Park; NJ State YBTC Champion Dermot Curtin, Ridgedale Middle School, Florham Park; 3rd runner up Kirk Lospinoso, Franklin Avenue Middle School, Franklin Lakes, NJ; 2nd runner up Danielle Sonnenleiter, Franklin Avenue Middle School, Franklin Lakes; NJ and Michele Margherita NJ State Challenge coordinator for Brenntag.

About BASF - The Chemical Company
BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has nearly 17,000 employees in North America, and had sales of $19.3 billion in 2013. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, visit

BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, we enable our customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring nutrition and improving quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF had sales of about €74 billion in 2013 and over 112,000 employees as of the end of the year. Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at

About Brenntag
Brenntag, the global market leader in chemical distribution, covers all major markets with its extensive product and service portfolio. Headquartered in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany, the company operates a global network with more than 480 locations in more than 70 countries. In 2013, the company, which has a global workforce of more than 13,000, generated sales of EUR 9.8 billion (USD 13.0 billion). Brenntag is the link between chemical manufacturers and chemical users. The company supports its customers and suppliers with tailor-made distribution solutions for industrial and specialty chemicals. With over 10,000 products and a world-class supplier base, Brenntag offers one-stop-shop solutions to around 170,000 customers. This includes specific application technology, an extensive technical support and value-added services such as just-in-time delivery, product mixing, formulation, repackaging, inventory management and drum return handling. Long-standing experience and local excellence in the individual countries characterize the global market leader for chemical distribution. For more information about Brenntag’s North American operations, visit

About the Chemical Educational Foundation
Founded in 1989 and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, the Chemical Educational Foundation® (CEF) works closely with industry to enhance science education opportunities for our youth. Based on the Next Generation Science Standards, the You Be The Chemist Challenge® introduces chemistry concepts to grade 5-8 students in an engaging format. For more information on the Challenge, visit In 2014, CEF celebrates its 25th anniversary and the 10th anniversary of the You Be The Chemist Challenge® program.