Contact: Levente Smith

August 25, 2006

Three Students Use Brains Over Brawn To Bring Home $3 Million Treasure Hunter Prize On NBC

DALLAS (SMU) — Studying for medical school, balancing social lives and winning a $3 million prize is all in a year’s work for three SMU students who recently won NBC’s Treasure Hunters competition.

What started out as a way to travel the world and enjoy a once-in-lifetime opportunity, quickly became the realization of lifelong dreams for Francis Goldshmid, Sam Khurana and Charles Taylor, know on the show as “The Geniuses.”

“The prize money is great,” said Taylor, “but more than anything, for the three Geniuses to pull it out in the end after falling behind so many times – that was the best thing about winning the show.”

While other people may spend prize money on a frivolous toy or two, these students plan to use the money to support family and friends and pay for medical school. 

Their journey through American history took them to swampland in South Carolina, a mountain in Southern France and found Taylor walking along the window ledge of a 22-story building. It was their balance of analytics and creativity that led them to victory when Goldshmid solved the final puzzle of their cryptex.

“We’ve known we won for a year, and it was a relief to finally be able to share that with people,” said Khurana. “It was the best kept secret of our lives not to tell our family and friends.”

Back on campus at SMU, with nine majors and one Masters’ degree between them, the Geniuses are shifting their focus back to education. Taylor, 22, and Khurana, 21, are finishing medical school applications, while Goldshmid, 20, continues to work toward his undergraduate degrees in chemistry and biological sciences.