by WYNNE LOVE | photo by Zeena Gregg Photography

Psammon, ajimez, luteovirescent. These are just a few of the words Snigdha Nandipati spelled correctly before clinching the Scripps National Spelling Bee title with the word “guetapens” this past May. A Torrey Highlands resident for the past eight years, Snigdha has been preparing for this amazing achievement since about the time she moved there at age 6. But that’s not all Snigdha does well.

About to start 9th grade at Francis Parker School in Mission Hills, Snigdha maintains a variety of interests. She enjoys playing golf, collects unique coins from around the world and loves a good book. “I like to read mysteries and adventures,” Snigdha shared, “especially the Theodore Boone series and Sherlock Holmes mysteries.”

Snigdha also enjoys the close-knit community at Francis Parker. “There is a lot of one-on-one attention from the teachers,” she described, “which makes learning more fun and easy.” Snigdha’s exceptional study habits probably help. Despite the hours spent pouring over flashcards, word lists, and sticky notes, Snigdha still makes time for her other interests. She has won the school golf award and medals for her performance in Science Olympiad competitions.

“I absolutely love science,” Snigdha grinned, “especially life science, but I also love English class. I want to become a neurosurgeon or a psychiatrist when I grow up.”

Despite all the attention she received for her impressive performance at the national bee, Snigdha said she is still in awe of the fellow students who share the title. “The past champions inspire me,” she stated, “because they express the excitement and effort of the different spellers over the years.”

Clearly Snigdha had a passion for the event herself, fanned by her father. “The study sessions were very tense,” Snigdha admitted, “but we were able to work things out so my dad and I both got what we wanted.” It appears they all did. Snigdha’s ten-year-old brother, Sujan, was thrilled when she won, and Snigdha, at 14, has life experience that even those 30,000 or so words she memorized may not equal. “Before I won I used to be really shy,” she divulged. “After my win, however, I became very comfortable speaking in front of cameras and audiences.” With so many accomplishments yet ahead of her, that will likely come in handy.