Karan Menon, a 14-year-old Indian-American student, has won the prestigious National Geographic Bee competition in the US, in which the top three positions were bagged by Indian-origin contestants.
Menon, an eighth grader from New Jersey, competed against 10 finalists from across the US to win the 2015 National Geographic Bee championship held on Wednesday at National Geographic headquarters in Washington.
Of the 10 finalists, seven were of Indian-origin. In addition to winning the title of National Geographic Bee champion, Menon received a USD 85,000 college scholarship, lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and an expedition for two to the Galapagos Islands aboard the Lindblad ship National Geographic Endeavour.
Menon has added his name to a long list of Indian-origin kids who have made their mark over the years in the similarly coveted spelling bee championships in the US.
The first-runner up and recipient of a USD 25,000 college scholarship was 11-year-old Shriya Yarlagadda of Michigan. The third place and a USD 10,000 college scholarship went to Sojas Wagle of Arkansas, a 13-year-old eighth grader.
Menon answered all seven championship-round questions correctly to win the title. The final question, which clinched the win for Menon, 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?" The Congo River was the correct answer.
Yarlagadda 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?"
The correct answer was Sea of Azov.
Seven other finalists, who each won USD 500, were Kapil Nathan, a 10-year-old fifth grader from Birmingham, Alabama; Nicholas Monahan, a 12-year-old sixth grader from Idaho; Patrick Taylor, a 12-year-old seventh grader from Iowa; Abhinav Karthikeyan, a 12-year-old sixth grader from Maryland; Lucy Chae, a 13-year-old seventh grader from Massachusetts; Shreyas Varathan, a 14-year-old eighth grader from Minnesota; and Tejas Badgujar, a 13-year-old eighth grader from Pennsylvania.