Meet the Geo Bee Winner with the World at His Fingertips
The 2015 National Geographic Bee witnessed the sheer brilliance of 14-year old Karan Menon from New Jersey as he surpassed his fellow contestants to become the proud recipient of the much coveted $50,000 scholarship prize. This competition has been open to eighth graders across the United States since 2000 with the finals being held in Washington, DC. Finalists at the Geo Bee beat over four million students participating in local competitions before arriving in DC where they had to go through ten more rounds of questions. Menon outdid Shriya Yarlagadda, an 11-year-old from Michigan, who missed just one question, to become the champion.
The competition was moderated by television journalist Solelad O’Brien. Shriya dominated the contest from the start, but Menon proved to be a worthy opponent. In a nail-biting moment, Karan Menon challenged judges when he answered that taconite was the mineral found in the Mesabi Range whereas the judges expected iron ore as the answer. Winning the National Geographic Bee has been a natural culmination for Karan’s passion for geography. The New Jersey teenager claimed to be on “the top of the world” after his thrilling victory. When quizzed about his future dreams, he showed maturity by saying that he would make a career choice only after finishing high school.
It is interesting to note that out of the ten finalists at the National Geographic Bee this year, seven were of Indian origin who were individual state champions. Besides being awarded a $50,000 scholarship, the Geo Bee winner gets to enjoy an all-expenses paid tour to Galapagos Islands as well as a lifetime membership to the National Geographic Society.