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And Then There Were 3: 3 Students and 3 Student Teams Head to Geo Championship Finals

Meet the students who will advance to the 2019 GeoBee and GeoChallenge finals.

The semifinal rounds of the 31st annual National Geographic GeoBee and first-ever national level of the National Geographic GeoChallenge were held today, Tuesday, May 21, at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. The top three GeoBee students and top three GeoChallenge teams will advance to the final round tomorrow, Wednesday, May 22, at 3:30 p.m. EST. Journalist and humorist Mo Rocca will host.

The GeoBee finalists:
  • Maryland—Rishi Kumar, 8th, Ellicott Mills Middle School, Ellicott City, Md.
  • Massachusetts—Atreya Mallanna, 6th, William Diamond Middle School, Lexington, Mass.
  • Texas—Nihar Janga, 8th, Canyon Ridge Middle School, Austin, Tex.
The GeoChallenge team finalists:
  • Team Navigators from Flushing Christian School in New York, N.Y., including Victor Jimenez (5th), Alex Jun (5th), Jeremiah Pierre (5th) and Natanel Rozic (5th)
  • Team Bayou Protectors from St. Francis Episcopal School in Houston, Tex., including Sammy Little (7th), Mykayla McMillian (7th), Emily Morris (7th), Elliott Preston (7th), Mackenzie Schmidt (7th) and Abbie Wallace (7th)
  • Team Pioneers from Epiphany Stars Homeschool in St. Louis, Mo., including Dulce Brown (8th), Abby Irwin (6th), Anna Irwin (8th), Naomi Irwin (7th), Elise Zeigler (8th) and Titus Zeigler (5th)

The Geo Championships are part of National Geographic’s goal to teach students about the world and how it works, ultimately empowering the next generation of geographers, scientists, conservationists and educators.

Watch the semifinal rounds on YouTube. Follow the 2019 Geo Championships on social media with #NatGeoChallenge and #NatGeoBee and at

The GeoBee National Champion will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and a Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the National GeographicEndeavour ll. The second- and third-place winners will receive a $10,000 and $5,000 college scholarship, respectively. The top 10–scoring students will each receive $1,000 in cash.

The team that wins the GeoChallenge national competition will receive a $25,000 team prize plus support and guidance from National Geographic staff to implement their solution to the urgent issue of plastic pollution in our waterways. The second- and third-place teams will receive $10,000 and $5,000, respectively, to implement their GeoChallenge solutions. The GeoChallenge theme this year, Tackling Plastic!, is aligned with National Geographic’s Planet or Plastic? initiative, a global commitment to significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic that reaches the ocean by raising awareness, elevating science and education, advancing innovation and inspiring action.


Developed by the National Geographic Society in 1988 to promote geographic knowledge among young people in the United States, the National Geographic GeoBee is an academic competition for public schools, private schools and homeschools in the United States and its territories, as well as the Department of Defense Dependents Schools. Students in grades four through eight from nearly 10,000 schools participate annually for a chance to win college scholarships and the glory of being the National Geographic GeoBee Champion. Over more than three decades, 120 million students have learned about the world by participating in the GeoBee. Learn more at


The GeoChallenge is an annual themed and project-based competition from the National Geographic Society that challenges student groups in grades five through eight across the United States to develop a creative solution to a real-world problem. Students form teams—between four and six people—and respond to a problem, challenge or critical issue by using research, collaboration, creativity and communication to create and present real-world solutions, just like National Geographic Explorers. More information is available at

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About National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society is a global nonprofit organization that uses the power of science, exploration, education and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. Since 1888, National Geographic has pushed the boundaries of exploration, investing in bold people and transformative ideas, providing more than 15,000 grants for work across all seven continents, reaching 3 million students each year through education offerings, and engaging audiences around the globe through signature experiences, stories and content. To learn more, visit or follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.