This week, Tejas Badgujar represented Pennsylvania at the 27th annual National Geographic Bee, in Washington, D.C. Fifty-four of the nation’s top geography students, ranging from fifth to eighth grade, competed for a $50,000 scholarship and a trip to the Galapagos Island, answering questions about places most of us adults have never even heard of. Tejas, a 13-year-old eighth grader from outside of Pittsburgh, was among just 10 kids to advance to the final rounds. We caught up with him afterwards to ask him about his favorite places and what makes maps so cool.
How in the world did you prepare for such a massive competition?
All I do is study maps a lot. I love maps — I like how they fit all of this detail and information into one small piece of paper.
What’s your favorite place to read about?
India, because that’s where my family is from. I was born there, but we came to the United States when I was only 4 months old.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I would either like to be at National Geographic or Google and help out with the map stuff they make.
What are your other interests?
I like to play tennis; I like to swim. I play the clarinet and piano, and I have a black belt in tae kwan do.
If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you go?
Antarctica because it’s really cold over there — and I love penguins.
Catch Tejas in the final round of the National Geographic Bee on Nat Geo WILD Wednesday, May 20, at 7 p.m.