Akhil Rekulapelli of Virginia Wins 2014 National Geographic Bee And $50,000 College Scholarship

Students from Florida and California Take Second and Third Place
May 21, 2014 5:15 PM ET
Holding their winners’ checks at the end of the 2014 National Geographic Bee held in Washington, D.C., today are (from left) third-place finisher Tuvya Bergson-Michelson of California, who received a $10,000 college scholarship; second-place winner Ameya Mujumdar of Florida, who received a $25,000 college scholarship; and Bee champion Akhil Rekulapelli of Virginia, who won the top prize of a $50,000 college scholarship. Photo by Rebecca Hale / National Geographic

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 21, 2014 /3BL Media/ - Akhil Rekulapelli of Dulles, Virginia, a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Stone Hill Middle School in Ashburn, took top honors at the 26th annual National Geographic Bee held today at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. Akhil, who finished in fourth place at the 2013 National Geographic Bee, is the first student from Virginia to win the competition. Akhil’s prizes are a $50,000 college scholarship, lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and a trip for two to the Galápagos Islands on an expedition aboard the Lindblad ship National Geographic Endeavour.

The second-place winner and recipient of a $25,000 college scholarship was Ameya Mujumdar from Florida, an 11-year-old fifth-grader at Turner Elementary School in Tampa. Third place and a $10,000 college scholarship went to California’s Tuvya Bergson-Michelson, a 13-year-old seventh-grader at The Nueva School in Hillsborough, near San Francisco. Tuvya was a top-10 finalist in 2011 and 2013. Fourth place and $1,000 went to Pranit Nanda of Colorado, a 14-year-old eighth-grader at Aurora Quest K-8 School in Aurora, east of Denver. He was a top-10 finalist last year and a state winner in 2012.

The winning question was: The discovery of a major shale oil deposit in the Vaca Muerta formation in 2010 has led to an expansion of oil drilling in the Neuquén province in what country? Answer: Argentina.

Fifty-four state and territory winners took part in the preliminary rounds of the 2014 National Geographic Bee on Monday, May 19. The top-10 finishers in the preliminary rounds met in today’s final round. There were nine perfect scores in Monday’s preliminary round, and Akhil beat out seven other contestants in the tie-breaker round to secure the final spot in the top 10. Today’s final round was moderated for the first time by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien. The six other finalists, who each won $500, were Ansel Ahabue of Georgia, Nicholas Rommel of Massachusetts, Kyle Yu of Ohio, Max Levine of Rhode Island, Krish Patel of South Carolina and Asha Jain of Wisconsin.    

National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD will air the final round at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 22. It will be aired later on public television stations; check local television listings for dates and times.

More than 4 million students took part in the 2014 National Geographic Bee, which was sponsored for the sixth year by Google.

NOTE: B-Roll from the competition will be available later today via http://bit.ly/GeoBee2014 (username: press | password: press).

Press resources and profiles of the 54 state winners can be found at the press room site http://bit.ly/GeoBee2014. Videos of many of the finalists are at http://www.youtube.com/nationalgeographic.


Media Contacts:

For first-place winner: Kelsey Flora, (202) 828-8023, kflora@ngs.org

For second-place winner: Farley Fitzgerald, (202) 775-6119, ffitzgerald@ngs.org

For third-place winner: Eric Tunell, (202) 862-8278, etunell@ngs.org