Daniel Shapiro didn’t exactly study for the U.S. Geography Olympiad. In a sense, though, he had been studying his whole life for last month’s event in Washington, D.C., at which he placed sixth.
“I’m really a total geography nerd,” said Shapiro, a senior at Rock Bridge High School in Columbia. “This competition was essentially the culmination of my knowledge; it was a place where I could finally put it to some use.”
Thanks to his performance at the U.S. Olympiad, where he landed after placing first in the state of Missouri on the national qualification test, Shapiro will be Team USA’s second alternate at the International Geography Olympiad in Krakow, Poland, in August.
“Truly, it was amazing to see how extraordinarily intelligent everyone was,” Shapiro said about the competition. “It was nice to see so many people who also had a passion for geography.”
Shapiro, an AP student at Rock Bridge, said he has always had an affinity for studying maps and learning about other cultures, which has given him a broad knowledge of world geography.
“I love to learn about the world around me, and from a young age, maps have been a great way to do that,” he said.
Daniel will attend Brown University next fall and is considering majoring in international relations. “I’d love to be a diplomat or someone that deals with foreign cultures on a frequent basis,” he said. “I can’t wait to see where geography takes me in the rest of life!”