Akhil Rekulapelli wins National Geographic Bee

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Nat Geo Akhil
Virginia 8th grader Akhil Rekulapelli (left) and Florida 5th grader Ameya Mujumdar (right) answered questions delivered by CNN’s Soledad O’Brien during the final round.

The National Geographic Society, one of the world’s biggest scientific and educational organizations, hosts a mega geography contest each year for students in the 4th to 8th grade. It’s an extremely challenging competition, too, since students are tested on their knowledge of everything from a region’s cultures, plants, and animals, to its physical and economic characteristics. This year, 13-year-old Akhil Rekulapelli won the National Geographic Bee, earning some incredible prizes!

Akhil is taking home a $50,000 scholarship, a lifetime National Geographic Society membership, and a trip to the Galapagos Islands with his family.

In the 1830s, the mysterious and beautiful Galapagos inspired Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary theory, since he observed that animals adapted different physical qualities over time to better survive their environment. So, you can bet it’ll be an educational adventure for Akhil!

Although Akhil proved his knowledge in geography, the scientific field that studies Earth’s lands, features, people, and natural phenomena, he’s most interested in pursuing medicine. The young teen is setting his sights high, since he wants to attend the prestigious Stanford University and become a surgeon.

If the life of a surgeon doesn’t work out for Akhil, he’ll definitely have a bright future in geography. After all, he was able to win the contest by successfully answering the following question: Oyala, a planned city located in the rainforest 65 miles east of Bata, is being built as a new capital for which African country? The answer, in case you’re curious, is Equatorial Guinea. Yah, I wouldn’t have gotten that question right in a million years!

Images courtesy of National Geographic.