On the bedroom wall of a typical fifth-grader, you may find a poster of a superhero or a professional athlete.

For Satvik Pochiraju, a floor-to-ceiling map of the world is more appropriate.

"I like a lot of academic stuff," Satvik said. "I think it's cool to have a lot of knowledge."

By those standards, Satvik is pretty cool. He's certainly not lacking in knowledge.

The Olentangy Meadows Elementary School student is the Ohio champion of the National Geographic GeoBee, an annual nationwide competition that tests the geographical and geopolitical knowledge of thousands of students in grades 4-8.

Students face questions on topics ranging from global capitals to geographical causes of phenomena or even knowledge of river networks.

But competitors can't simply memorize a list of cities and shapes on a map; they've got to have context for many of their answers. One question, for example, asked contestants to figure out an appropriate location to set up a recycling program.

"You have to use a lot of common sense, too," Satvik said.

As Ohio champion -- determined during a competition March 29 in Canal Winchester -- Satvik will join the rest of the country's state champions at the contest's national championship, set May 19-22 in Washington, D.C.

But for the motivated young man, a trip to the contest's biggest stage isn't intimidating.

"It was always my goal to be here," he said. "My goal has always been to win the national championship."

It helps that Satvik's older brother, Saket, now 14, has earned a berth in the national championships in each of the last three years.

Satvik said he wants to win it for his brother, who couldn't quite become national champion. (Satvik puts the blame on "unequal" questions.)

He said helping his brother study for his own competitions gave him a head start on the geographical knowledge he's using today.

The boys' father, Sudhakar, said the familiarity would be a good thing for the family, including mom, Umasalini, for Satvik's first national-championship appearance.

"It's the same hotel and the same room," he said with a laugh, "so we know it well."

If he can win the competition, Satvik will win a $25,000 college scholarship, $1,000 in cash, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Top-10 finishers earn other prizes as well.

For now, though, Satvik is proud of his accomplishment, which he called "really hard."

"It's always been a big priority of mine," he said, "but it wasn't an easy journey."

While it might seem he's headed for a career in geography, the pragmatic fifth-grader isn't ready to narrow down his future career just yet.

"You need a job that you love, but also one that pays you well," he said with a smile.

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