Successful Year for USA at the GeCAA

Around two hundred and seventy students from thirty-eight countries competed in the first Global e-Competition on Astronomy and Astrophysics. Initially the competition was supposed to be held in Bogota, Colombia, but because of COVID-19, it had to be moved online. Estonia took charge of the logistics of the competition and managed to organize this competition in only 4 months; team leaders from all countries helped in the competition by writing problems, supervising the online exam and grading. In addition, the academic committee (of which Ioana Zelko was a part of) oversaw the creation of the exams and the approval of the appeals.

Students took the exams in extraordinary conditions, during the pandemic, some facing technical issues along the way.

The exams consisted of individual rounds in theory, data analysis and observation, and a team competition as well that took place over two weeks. You can see the exams here

In addition, during the weeks of the competition, students were invited to listen to open lectures given by Prof. Erin Kara and NASA Astronaut Catherine Coleman.

USA’s Astronomy and Astrophysics Team performed well under these conditions, obtaining 6 gold medals, 1 silver and 2 bronzes, as well as the best score for the theoretical exam of the competition (the results can be seen here).

Gold Medalists:

Leo Yao

William Huang

April Cheng

Sean Chen (Best Theory as well)

Shion Murakawa

Adithya Balachandran

Silver Medalists:

Jupiter Ding

Bronze Medalists:

Max Tan

Jared Machtinger

Certificate of Participation:

William Li

Team Mentors responsible for coordinating, supervising and grading are: Thaddeus Komacek, Sandesh Kalantre, Katarine Emanuela Klitzke, and Lucas Pinheiro.

The USA team was selected by volunteer members of the USAAAO (USA Astronomy and Astrophysics Organization) based on candidates’ results in a selection exam. Pending on the situation in the world, 2021 IOAA is supposed to be in Colombia in September.

We are extremely grateful to “The Masson Family Fund” for the generous donation, to the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) for their help and support, and to law firm Prince Lobel for legal representation.

If you’re interested in knowing more about USAAAO or want to volunteer, you can email us at