Indian-origin boy, Sathwik Karnik, wins National Geographic Bee contest

WASHINGTON: Sathwik Karnik, an Indian-origin boy from Massachusetts has won this year’s National Geographic Bee contest after gruelling rounds testing his geographic knowledge about lions in Botswana, mountain ranges in Asia and port cities in England.

To clinch this title, Karnik, 12, correctly named Chimborazo as the mountain in Ecuador that represents the farthest point from the Earth’s center.
Karnik, a native of Norfolk, south of Boston, is a 7th grader at King Philip Regional Middle School while his family hails from south India.

The national competition this time round turned out to be dominated by the Indian-Americans even as in the finals held in Washington yesterday, eight of the 10 finalists, who competed among the four million participants for the competition, were Indian-Americans.

In addition to Karnik, the third place was grabbed by Sanjeev Uppaluri, 11, fifth-grader at Fulton Sunshine Academy in Roswell, a suburb of Atlanta and the fourth place went to Virginia’s Akhil Rekulapelli, 12, seventh-grader at Stone Hill Middle School in Ashburn.

Karnik will take home the spoils of the Bee prize that include a USD 25,000 college scholarship, an all-expenses paid trip to the Galapagos Islands, and a lifetime membership to the National Geographic Society, National Geographic reported.

This is the third year in a row that a member of the Karnik family has placed in the top 10 of the National Geographic Bee.
Sathwik’s brother, Karthik, took fifth place at the 2011 Bee and sixth place at the 2012 Bee.
But it is Sathwik who realised the family dream. Second-place winner and recipient of a USD 15,000 college scholarship was Illinois’ Conrad Oberhaus, 13, seventh-grader at Daniel Wright Junior High School in Lincolnshire, a suburb of Chicago.

The six other finalists, who each won USD 500, were Tuvya Bergson-Michelson of California, Pranit Nanda of Colorado, Neha Middela of Michigan, Neelam Sandhu of New Hampshire, Harish Palani of Oregon and Asha Jain of Wisconsin.
National Geographic Bee is an annual geography contest sponsored by the National Geographic Society since 1989.