The J!Effect Alumni Stories

Were you a Jeopardy! contestant? Submit Your J!Alumni Story

J!Alumni: Decades of the J!Effect

Career changes, charitable donations, school tuitions and new homes: These are just a few ways Jeopardy! has changed contestants' lives. Read updates from your favorites below.

Pictured: Maryanne and Michael

Maryanne Lewell
Season 30
Once upon a 2013 Teachers Tournament, Michael Townes and I met.

Maryanne Lewell

Season 30

Our Contestant Love Story

Once upon a 2013 Teachers Tournament, Michael Townes and I met. Then we fell in love, and we got married in 2017. You might have seen it in the New York Times "Vows" section – that's us! We would never have met in the first place if it weren't for Jeopardy! Our wedding guest list included five of our fellow Teachers Tournament alums – Mary Beth Hammerstrom gave a toast to the bride and groom, and Patrick Dillon serenaded our first dance. Jeopardy! has been a huge part of our family story.

Leonard Cooper
Season 30
The money has been a big help. I’ve used it to pay for part of my college tuition as well as to buy personally important things like a new guitar and a car.

Leonard Cooper

Season 30

Paid for College!

The money has been a big help. I’ve used it to pay for part of my college tuition as well as to buy personally important things like a new guitar and a car. College is difficult enough to pay for and I wouldn’t have any of the other items without the winnings from Jeopardy!

Jennifer Chang
Season 34
Although I was only a contestant on one episode of Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek and I had a chance to chat one-on-one about my corgi, Siri!

Jennifer Chang

Season 34

My Dog Impressed Alex Trebek

Although I was only a contestant on one episode of Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek and I had a chance to chat one-on-one about my corgi, Siri! She has a fairly large following on social media and Alex seemed amused by her name and her fans. Here she is, in all her goofy corgi cuteness.

Monica Thieu
Season 28
After graduating from the TAMS program, I went to Stanford to finish my undergrad.

Monica Thieu

Season 28

Tuition, Room & Board

After graduating from the TAMS program, I went to Stanford to finish my undergrad. Jeopardy! winnings paid for a full year of tuition, room, and board – I don't think I would have been able to attend if I hadn't won Jeopardy! I guess Jeopardy! really did change my life!

Lori Kissell
Season 27
Being selected for the inaugural Teachers Tournament, being able to represent my school, and being a part of Jeopardy! history forever are thrills of a lifetime.

Lori Kissell

Season 27

Jeopardy! Is Now Part of My School's History

Being selected for the inaugural Teachers Tournament, being able to represent my school, and being a part of Jeopardy! history forever are thrills of a lifetime. One of our classrooms has no windows and the teacher wanted something to liven it up. Art students designed a mural to celebrate the first twenty years of school history, and they chose my Jeopardy! appearance to commemorate 2011! I was, and will always be, honored and touched to be part of school history, especially as Jeopardy! represents the epitome of lifelong learning.

Ken Jennings
Season 21
Thanks to Jeopardy! I got out of a job that I was terrible at (I was a computer guy) and now I do what I have always wanted to do, which is to be a writer.

Ken Jennings

Season 21

Doing What I've Always Wanted to Do

Thanks to Jeopardy! I got out of a job that I was terrible at (I was a computer guy) and now I do what I have always wanted to do, which is to be a writer. Being on Jeopardy! made me a lot more confident. It’s made me think about what the value of learning and knowledge is, the stuff we carry around in our heads – I really feel like I appreciate it more.

What's Your J!Effect Story?

No matter if your story is big or small, personal or shared, touching or just plain funny – we want to hear it! Submit Your Story: