2016 National Geographic Bee champion Rishi Nair, 12, of Florida celebrates his win at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., on May 25. (Rebecca Hale | National Geographic)

2016 National Geographic Bee champion Rishi Nair, 12, of Florida celebrates his win at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., on May 25. (Rebecca Hale | National Geographic)

Rishi Nair, 12-year-old Indian American student, has won the prestigious $50,000 National Geographic Bee competition in which Indian-origin contestants maintained their dominance by sweeping all the top three slots, writes Lalit K. Jha. (@Siliconeer, #Siliconeer, #NatGeoBee, #RishiNair, #IndianAmericanKids)


Indian-American students have consistently performed exceptionally well at various bee competitions over the years.

Nair, a sixth grader from Florida took top honors at the 28th annual National Geographic Bee held at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., May 25.

As National Geographic Bee champion, Nair received a $50,000 college scholarship and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society.

This is the fifth consecutive year that an Indian American has won the prestigious national tournament. Last year Karan Menon had won the competition.

Eighth-grader Saketh Jonnalagadda, 14, from Massachusetts was the runner up and recipient of the $25,000 college scholarship. Third place and a $10,000 college scholarship was grabbed by Kapil Nathan, a 12-year-old sixth-grader from Alabama.

The final question, which clinched the win for Nair, was: “A new marine sanctuary will protect sharks and other wildlife around Isla Wolf in which archipelago in the Pacific Ocean?” The answer was: “Galapagos Islands.”

Nair, whose parents hail from Kerala, is the second Florida student to win the National Geographic Bee. In 2010, eighth-grader Aadith Moorthy of Palm Harbor was the national champion.

It was a nail-biting, seven-question final round between Nair and Saketh. Seven of the 10 finalists were Indian Americans.

The seven other finalists, who each won $500, were Grace Rembert of Montana, Rishi Kumar of Maryland, Pranay Varada of Texas, Lucas Eggers of Minnesota, Samanyu Dixit of North Carolina, Thomas Wright of Wisconsin, and Ashwin Sivakumar of Oregon.