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13-year-old to represent Michigan in 2011 National Geographic Bee

Jacob Tanner, National Geographic Bee finalist
Jacob Tanner, National Geographic Bee finalist

Jacob Tanner, 13, from Saline, Michigan will go to Washington D.C. to participate in the 23rd annual National Geographic Bee. He’s a student at Saline Middle School. He recently spoke with Michigan Radio’s Jenn White. Here’s the interview.


This week, 54 of the nation’s brightest young people will compete for a top prize of a $25,000 in college scholarship money and a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

The finalists are all winners of their state-level geographic bees. Tanner says winning the competition would be the biggest accomplish of his life so far.

Tanner prepares for the GeoBee with his teachers and parents and says making up rhymes helps him retain information.

"A couple days ago I was studying the geography of Germany, so I just made all the cities that I needed to remember into a rhyme."

In addition to knowing the names of cities and countries, Tanner says he also has to know a lot about science and economics.

In his free time, Tanner says he likes to "read books, play video games, go on the internet, those kinds of things." And when he grows up, Jacob says he wants to be a professor.

For fun, Michigan Radio’s Jenn White asked Tanner a few questions from past bees (you can take your own GeoBee quiz on the National Geographic website).

Q: Beginning in 1571, the Spanish built the fortified city of Intramuros. It lies within the metropolitan area of what present-day Asian capital city?

A: Manila (Jacob got it right.)

Q: The Temple at Konarak is a monumental representation of the sun god Surya’s chariot, and is located near the Bay of Bengal in what country?

A: India (Jacob got this one right too.)

Tanner tested Jenn White's knowledge with a few questions of his own.

Tanner said he ordered the questions from easiest to most difficult:

Q:  There is a fish processing plant in Trondheim in which country?

A:  Norway (Jenn did not get this one.)

Q:  Expo 2010 drew 70 million people to what city on the Huangpu River, which is a tributary to the Yangtze River?

A:  Shanghai (Jenn got this one right!) Jenn points to the fact that she was in China during Expo 2010, and there for knew the answer.

Q:  Lake Gatun, an artificial lake that is part of the Panama Canal is formed by what river?

A: Chagres River (Jenn did not know this one.)

You can check out a YouTube video about Jacob here:


The preliminary round of the National Geographic Bee will take place on Tuesday, May 24th. The top 10 finalists will each win $500 and advance to the final round on Wednesday, May 25th, which will be moderated by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek.

National Geographic Channel will air the Bee competition as well as the journey of the finalists from the state competitions through the finals over four nights beginning Monday, June 13th, at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Check local listings for viewing dates and times.

Mercedes Mejia is a producer and director of Stateside.
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