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Local Middle Schooler Places Fifth in National Geography Bee



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Clarksburg resident and Roberto Clemente Middle School student, Abhinav Karthikeyan has placed fifth in the National Geographic Bee which was held in Washington DC on Wednesday.

This is the third time that 12-year-old Karthikeyan has represented Maryland as one of the competitors in the National Geographic Bee, and this is the farthest he’s ever gotten. It announced yesterday that he was one of the Top 10 finalists competing for first prize which is a $50,000 college scholarship, lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society, and a trip to the Galápagos Islands.


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“I’ve had interest in it since pre-school,” Abhinav told the Germantown Pulse in April. He said his interest was inspired by an uncle in India who was a cartographer. ”My motivation for learning geography is winning the $50,000 check,” said Karthikeyan referring to the prize money the national winner receives. But, he also says there is some cultural pride which drives him on noting that many of the top ten finalists in recent years have been of Indian decent. “In fourth grade there were eight Indian students in the top ten at nationals, and this year there were five in the top ten. I want to represent the Indian community.”

This year, Karthikeyan was one of six top ten finalists that were Indian American.

But while studying maps is a large part of preparing for a geography bee, he says it is only one aspect of the knowledge needed to be successful at in the bee. Sure, knowing names of countries, capitols and cities are important, but so is knowing rivers, mountains and other topography. However, if you want to be successful beyond the school level, you also need to have a great understanding of world commerce and trade, natural resources, GDP, the Human Development Index for countries and regions, as well as major attractions such as the great monuments and roller coasters of the world.

The championship will air on the National Geographic Channel at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 15, and on Nat Geo WILD at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20.

Caption: Abhinav Karthikeyan of Maryland gets ready to answer a question during the tiebreaker at the 2015 National Geographic Bee preliminary round held in Washington, D.C., on May 11, 2015. He was one of the top 10 finalists.

Photo by Rebecca Drobis/National Geographic

Next: The 10 finalists who took part in the 2015 National Geographic Bee held at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., on May 13 were (top row, left to right) Patrick Taylor of Iowa, Abhinav Karthikeyan of Maryland, Sojas Wagle of Arkansas, Karan Menon of New Jersey, Nicholas Monahan of Idaho, (bottom row, left to right)Tejas Badgujar of Pennsylvania, Shriya Yarlagadda of Michigan, Shreyas Varathan of Minnesota, Kapil Nathan of Alabama, and Lucy Chae of Massachusetts.

Photo by Rebecca Drobis/National Geographic

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