Photograph by Rebecca Hale
The preliminary round of the 25th annual National Geographic Bee was held Monday, May 20. The top 10 finishers — from the field of 54 state-level winners who took part in the prelims — will compete in the final round to be held at The National Theatre in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, May 22. The winner will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and a trip to the Galápagos Islands. Second- and third-place winners will receive $15,000 and $10,000 college scholarships respectively. The final round of the competition will be simulcast in prime time on the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD on Thursday, May 23, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
The 10 finalists are:
- Tuvya Bergson-Michelson, California
- Pranit Nanda, Colorado
- Ricky Uppaluri, Georgia
- Conrad Oberhaus, Illinois
- Sathwik Karnik, Massachusetts
- Neha Middela, Michigan
- Neelam Sandhu, New Hampshire
- Harish Palani, Oregon
- Akhil Rekulapelli, Virginia
- Asha Jain, Wisconsin
Top 10 Finalists' Videos
Tuvya Bergson-Michelson is a 12-year- old 6th grader at The Nueva School in Hillsborough, near San Francisco. He represented California at the 2011 National Geographic Bee. His interests include government, international affairs, politics and baseball statistics. He enjoys cross-country running.
Pranit Nanda is a 13-year-old 7th grader at Aurora Quest K-8 School in Aurora, east of Denver. He represented Colorado at the 2012 National Geographic Bee. He's captain of his school Mathcounts team and a three-time winner of the President's Award for Academic Excellence. He likes reading and watching game shows.
Ricky Uppaluri is an 11-year-old 5th grader at Fulton Sunshine Academy in Roswell, a suburb of Atlanta. He likes looking at maps and reading chapter books. Among those he admires are his grandparents, uncle and aunt, as they introduced him to geography. The best place he's been is Agra, India; he saw the Taj Mahal.
Conrad Oberhaus is a 13-year-old 7th grader at Daniel Wright Junior High School in Lincolnshire, a suburb of Chicago. He represented Illinois at the 2012 National Geographic Bee. He has won multiple presidential physical fitness awards and state and national chess awards. He earned a black belt in tae kwon do at age 6.
Sathwik Karnik is a 12-year-old 7th grader at King Philip Regional Middle School in Norfolk, southwest of Boston. He plays the clarinet and enjoys competing in chess tournaments. What he likes best about geography is how it connects people, places and cultures. He'd like to visit the Galpagos.
Neha Middela is 11 years old and in the 6th grade at Detroit Country Day School in Beverly Hills, north of Detroit. In her free time she likes to doodle, dance, write, eat chocolate and watch TV. Among those she admires is Pakistani school pupil Malala Yousafzai, because she stood up for girls' education.
Neelam Sandhu is a 14-year-old 8th grader at Ross A. Lurgio Middle School in Bedford, a suburb of Manchester. She represented New Hampshire at the 2012 National Geographic Bee. She does alpine racing and competitive skiing. She enjoys playing the piano, writing stories and poems, acting and singing.
Harish Palani is a 13-year-old 7th grader at Stoller Middle School in Portland. He represented Oregon at the 2011 National Geographic Bee. What he likes best about geography is that it helps him appreciate the diversity of our planet. He hopes to get a job with Google Earth or Google Maps.
Akhil Rekulapelli is a 12-year-old 7th grader at Stone Hill Middle School in Ashburn, near Washington, D.C. He plays the clarinet in his school's top band, is on the all-A honor roll and is a 1st degree black belt in tae kwon do. The best place he's been is Costa Rica, where he hiked on a lava flow and ate live termites.
Asha Jain is a 13-year- old 7th grader at Minocqua-Hazelhurst- Lake Tomahawk Elementary School in Minocqua, northwestern Wisconsin. She holds six club records in swimming and earned 5th and 8th places in a state swim meet. She enjoys music, movies and playing the flute. She'd like to visit Brazil.
Utah State Winner
Gauri Garg, Utah State Bee Champion, was asked to select one superpower, and one global and community issue to solve. She’d use her special powers to end pollution by converting pollutants and educating the public about hazardous vehicle emissions.
How to Help
Donations help fund schools to participate in the National Geographic Bee.
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