Students from Michigan and Arkansas Take Second and Third Place
Final Round to Air Friday, May 15, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on National Geographic Channel and Wednesday, May 20, at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD
WASHINGTON (May 13, 2015)—Karan Menon of Edison, New Jersey, a 14-year-old eighth grader at John Adams Middle School, took top honors at the 27th annual National Geographic Bee held today at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. In addition to earning the title of National Geographic Bee champion, Karan received a $50,000 college scholarship, lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and an expedition for two to the Galápagos Islands aboard the Lindblad ship National Geographic Endeavour.
The second-place winner and recipient of a $25,000 college scholarship was 11-year-old Shriya Yarlagadda of Grand Blanc, Michigan, a sixth grader at Grand Blanc East Middle School. Third place and a $10,000 college scholarship went to Sojas Wagle of Springdale, Arkansas, a 13-year-old eighth grader at Southwest Junior High School.
Karan answered all seven championship-round questions correctly to win the title. Shriya missed just the first question: “Mariupol, a city located at the mouth of the Kalmius River, is located on what sea that is an arm of the Black Sea?” Answer: “Sea of Azov.” The final question, which clinched the win for Karan, was: “If completed, the proposed Grand Inga Dam would become the world’s largest hydropower plant. This dam would be built near Inga Falls on which African river?” Answer: “Congo River.”
Karan is the second New Jersey student to win the National Geographic Bee. In 1996, seventh-grader Seyi Fayanju was the national champion.
Fifty-four state and territory winners took part in the preliminary rounds of the 2015 National Geographic Bee on Monday, May 11. The top 10 finishers in the preliminary rounds met in this morning’s final round, which was moderated by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien. The seven other finalists, who each won $500, were Kapil Nathan, a 10-year-old fifth grader from Birmingham, Alabama; Nicholas Monahan, a 12-year-old sixth grader from McCall, Idaho; Patrick Taylor, a 12-year-old seventh grader from Coralville, Iowa; Abhinav Karthikeyan, a 12-year-old sixth grader from Germantown, Maryland; Lucy Chae, a 13-year-old seventh grader from Newton Centre, Massachusetts; Shreyas Varathan, a 14-year-old eighth grader from Shakopee, Minnesota; and Tejas Badgujar, a 13-year-old eighth grader from Allison Park, Pennsylvania.
A new addition to this year’s National Geographic Bee was an off-site challenge. The top 10 contestants travelled to the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., where they answered questions covering the geography of plants — including a plant that explodes and another that smells like rotting flesh.
The final round of the Bee will be aired on the National Geographic Channel at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, May 15, and on Nat Geo WILD at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Wednesday, May 20. It will also be aired on public television stations; check local television listings for dates and times.
More than 4 million students in over 11,000 schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Atlantic and Pacific territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools took part in the 2015 National Geographic Bee, which was sponsored for the seventh year by Google.
NOTE: B-roll, photos from the preliminary and final rounds and other press resources, including profiles of the 54 state champions, are available on our press room: http://bit.ly/GeoBee2015.
For first-place winner: Rebecca Penovich, (301) 807-0362, email@example.com
For second-place winner: Beth Furtwangler, (202) 457-8223, firstname.lastname@example.org
For third-place winner: Eric Tunell, (202) 862-8278, email@example.com