• 48em
  • 48fb
  • 48tw
Share It


For the second year in a row, the Scripps Spelling Bee resulted in two champions. This only happens when the judges run out of words.  

Before 2014, there hadn't been a tie in five decades, which must mean those wordsmiths are getting even smarter! 

This year, Gokul Venkatachalam, 14, of Chesterfield, Missouri and Vanya Shivashankar, 13, of Olathe, Kansas walked away with a trophy and $35,000 in cash. 

We wondered though... what happens after you win a national spelling bee?

Do you go on to an Ivy League school, become a doctor, or just go and have a regular life? 

We tracked down some of the most memorable winners to see what happens once you become the national spelling bee champs.

1. Nupur Lala

1998-winner-nupur-lala-was-a-star-of-the-2002-documentary-spellbound-before-going-on-to-medical-schoolPhoto Credit: Reuters

The 1999 winner was famously depicted in the Oscar-nominated movie Spellbound. She is now finishing a master's degree in cancer biology and plans to attend the University of Texas Medical School in Houston.

2. Susan Yoachum

5-29-2015 4-42-05 PMPhoto Credit: Baltimore Sun Archives

Yoachum, who won the competition in 1969, went on to become a well-known journalist. Her news team won a Pullitzer Prize for their reporting on the San Francisco Earthquake. She passed away in 1998 after battling breast cancer. 

3. Rebecca Sealfon

rebecca-sealfon-the-1997-winner-remembered-for-screaming-each-letter-of-her-last-word--euonym--went-on-to-found-research-match-a-startup-that-helps-professors-and-students-collaborate-shes-currently-a-software-engineer-atPhoto Credit: LinkedIn

The energetic Sealfon celebrated her win in 1997 by memorably shouting the spelling to "euonym." She founded a business that helps students connect with professors whose work they might be interested in and now works as a software engineer. You'll be happy to know, we hear she still has an enthusiastic way of talking. 

4. Daniel Greenblatt

Scripps-Spelling-Bee-DanielPhoto Credit: Slate

You might recognize Greenblatt's voice from video games and commercials. The winner of the 1984 spelling bee does voice-acting in games like Big Game Hunter 2012. 

5. Paige Pipkin Kimble

1981-winner-paige-pipkin-kimble-right-was-runner-up-in-1980-to-jacques-bailly-left-she-couldnt-shake-the-spelling-bee-she-serves-as-its-executive-director 1Photo Credit: Slate

Paige Pipkin Kimble is still very much involved in the Scripps Spelling Bee. The 1981 champion is the current director of the competition! 

Share It