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National Geography Bee champ to visit UConn (Released: 7/13/00)

By Allison Thompson, Office of University Communications

STORRS, Conn. -- While other 13-year-old teens are getting eady for high school, National Geography Bee Champion Felix Peng is preparing for college. The Guilford native will visit the University of Connecticut's geography department on Tuesday, July 18.

After Peng's geography bee win in May, geography Professor and Department Head Dean Hanink wrote a letter congratulating Peng. He also invited the teen to visit if he was in the area, an offer Peng excitedly accepted.

During his visit, Peng is scheduled to tour the department, the Map and Geographic Information Center located in Homer Babbidge Library and the Geographic Information Systems Lab.

Hanink and others in the geography department are looking forward to Peng's upcoming visit.

"We're happy as a community of geographers to have such a well-known geographer be part of UConn, even if only for a day," Hanink says.

In order to win the bee, Peng had to beat out millions of competitors. The geography bee starts with about 5 million students nationwide who take written geography tests. The winners of the local championships go to state championships. Representatives from the 50 states and five territories go to the national bee. Those 55 competitors are reduced to 10 finalists. Ultimately, only two of those 10 make it to the championship round.

Hanink applauds the bee for getting children interested in geography.

It's important to increase geographic awareness," Hanink says. "The bee also starts getting people beyond place names and into other geographic topics such as the relationship between the environment and population."

Peng will arrive at UConn's geography department, located on the fourth floor of Beach Hall, at 10 a.m. July 18.

Media are welcome to cover Peng's visit.

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