Venkat Ranjan of California Wins 2018 National Geographic Bee and $50,000 College Scholarship

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WASHINGTON, DC–Venkat Ranjan of San Ramon, California, a 13-year-old 8th-grader at Windemere Ranch Middle School, took top honors at the 30th annual National Geographic Bee held Wednesday at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. The first three prizes went to Indian-American kids.

In addition to earning the title of National Geographic Bee champion, Ranjan received a $50,000 college scholarship and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. He will also travel (along with one parent or guardian), all expenses paid, on a Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour ll. Travel is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic. Second- and third-place finishers will receive $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships, respectively.

The second-place winner and recipient of a $25,000 college scholarship was 13-year-old Anoushka Buddhikot of Bridgewater, New Jersey, an 8th-grader at Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School. Third place and a $10,000 college scholarship went to Vishal Sareddy of Suwanee, Georgia, a 14-year-old 8th-grader at Riverwatch Middle School.

Venkat Ranjan, 13, is announced as the winner of the National Geographic Bee Wednesday. Mo Rocca hosted the annual geography competition.

In the final round of single elimination competition, the winning question was “Lebanon has a population most similar to which South American country?” Ranjan’s answer: “Paraguay”

Fifty-four state and territory winners took part in the preliminary rounds of the 2018 National Geographic Bee on Monday, May 21. The top 10 finishers in the preliminary rounds met in this morning’s final round, which was moderated by humorist, journalist and actor Mo Rocca. The seven other finalists, who each won $500, were Gayatri Kaimal of Tucson, Arizona; Atreya Mallanna of Lexington, Massachusetts; Sean Cheng of Stratham, New Hampshire; Jonathan Song of Apex, North Carolina; Saket Pochiraju of Lewis Center, Ohio; Ashwin Sivakumar of Portland, Oregon; and Nihar Janga of Austin, Texas.

Almost 3 million students in 10,000 schools in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Atlantic and Pacific territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools took part in the 2018 National Geographic Bee.

The National Geographic Society developed the National Geographic Bee in 1989 in response to concern about the lack of geographic knowledge among young people in the United States. Everyone can test their geography knowledge with the exciting Geo Bee Quiz, an online geography quiz at, which poses 10 new questions a day.


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