Two Indian-American students – Karan Menon and Samvrit Rao - have won top spots at the recently-concluded U.S. edition of the International Geography Bee. Menon, a senior at J.P. Stevens High School in Edison, New Jersey won at the Varsity level, while Rao, a sixth grader at the Stone Hill Middle School in Ashburn, Virginia, won at the Junior Varsity Division.
Menon and Rao edged past top geography students from the country at the for the seventh annual Varsity and Junior Varsity National Championships of the U.S. Geography Olympiad, as well as the third annual Varsity and Junior Varsity US National Championships of the International Geography Bee, held April 26 in Arlington, Virginia. A total of 200 students competed in the U.S. Geography Olympiad and 186 students competed in the International Geography Bee.
Rao is said to be the youngest champion to date in the junior varsity division. He was awarded a trophy and a scholarship to offset travel expenses for competing in the second IGB World Championships scheduled to be held in July 2020.
Menon, who is 2015 won the National Geographic Bee (now called the National Geographic GeoBee), is the co-founder and director of GeoEd Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes geography awareness to children in the United States, India, and beyond. In 2014, Menon founded GeoBee City, a community blog site where student collaborate to prepare for the National Geographic Bee. He will attend the University of Southern California this fall.