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

Claud Argall
Season 11

I was lucky enough to win twice on Jeopardy in January 1995...the $25,398 I won sent both of my k

Claud Argall

Season 11

Life Changing

I was lucky enough to win twice on Jeopardy in January 1995...the $25,398 I won sent both of my kids to college. Both of them would have been saddled with student loan debt without my Jeopardy winnings! I'll take Educate Your Kids for $200 Alex!

Martin Cunningham
Season 34

I grew up watching Jeopardy!, but never knew all the answers.

Martin Cunningham

Season 34

Marty's story - My life with Jeopardy!

I grew up watching Jeopardy!, but never knew all the answers. In junior high, I created my own version of the game and my teacher let me play it with the class. I created the clues and answers based on what we were studying at the time. My wife and family always said I should be a contestant on the show. In 2010, I took my first online test and went to my first audition. But it wasn't until 2017, after my third test and third audition, that I got a call to appear on the show. Every step was more exciting; winning my first game, getting invited back for another week of taping, then watching with friends. I love facts and statistics, so the best part is that I am now part of the history of the show myself.  I'm still waiting to see what else may come next from this experience.

Kara Spak
Season 27

Nearly 3 million YouTube hits later and it’s the clue I can’t escape from.

Kara Spak

Season 27

Wrong Answer Still Going Viral

Nearly 3 million YouTube hits later and it’s the clue I can’t escape from. I’ve heard about it on the job and from parents at my kid’s school. I’ve seen it replayed on national news channels and countless “Worst Game Show Answers” lists. “What is a threesome?” was a ridiculous question I delivered during the 2011 Tournament of Champions. Viewers also saw my faceplant after, as well as a few witty quips from Alex Trebek. While the “Jeopardy! threesome” might be what I’m most remembered for, I’ll always remember the excitement of walking into the studio and all the amazing people — those working on the show and my fellow contestants — I met there. One day when my daughter is old enough to search the internet, she’ll find me and might have some questions. What I hope to tell her is that it’s great to try something new, no one’s perfect, life can be a little silly and you’ve got to roll with the punches. I’ll also let her know my favorite threesome, then and now, is her, her dad and me.

Jason Keller
Season 28

I don’t know if a short blurb can really encapsulate everything that Jeopardy! did for me.

Jason Keller

Season 28

So Few Words to Say That So Much Changed

I don’t know if a short blurb can really encapsulate everything that Jeopardy! did for me. My regular season run was a dream come true, and I can’t imagine how different my life would have been without it.  I now manage tutors in addition to teaching (and I am still often introduced as “nine-time Jeopardy! Champion Jason Keller” to new students). The Scrabble community recognized me from my appearance, which gave me the confidence to strive to be world-class. I have used some of my winnings to travel around the world (a fan in Perth, Australia even wanted a picture with me!). I also used my status as a champion to help others, hosting fundraisers for a local chapter of the Arc. I also took ownership of my health and lifestyle, in part to prepare for the Tournament of Champions. I have had some struggles, but I look and feel better now than ever did when I was playing, all thanks to Jeopardy!

Andy Vogl
Season 22

I was a Kids Week contestant back in 2005.

Andy Vogl

Season 22

You Haven't Seen the Last of Me

I was a Kids Week contestant back in 2005. Despite having the second highest score for the week, I came up $2 short after Final Jeopardy! so I can't say the show changed my life financially. However, my experience competing on Jeopardy! developed into a lifelong passion that has been the driving force behind some of my other pursuits. From application to audition to appearance, Jeopardy! caused me to catch the game show "bug." Immediately after the cameras stopped rolling, I was hungry for a chance to compete again on a national stage. As soon as I turned 18 I began auditioning for any and every game show I could find. Naturally, I've faced my fair share of rejection (and some success) over the years, but my hobby has taught me that life is just as much about the journey as it is the destination. I truly love auditioning, and I've have met tons of amazing people who share my insanity and ambition. Because of Jeopardy! I've grown up believing that no dream is out of reach!

Peter Severson
Season 21

When I was 17, I participated in the 2005 Teen Tournament.

Peter Severson

Season 21

Biblical Names

When I was 17, I participated in the 2005 Teen Tournament. After winning my first round game, I went to the semi-finals and had a spirited match with Michael (who ended up winning the whole tournament). The Final Jeopardy! category was "Biblical Names," with a clue about an Old Testament figure who had been "drawn from the water." I guessed Noah when I should've guessed Moses - no worries, I thought, since Michael would've beaten me by $1 if I'd gotten it right anyway. But when the show aired, my whole community back home was shocked: "You grew up in the church, how could you not know Moses?!" I went on to earn a religion degree at Princeton, served as a missionary in Mexico, and got a master's in religious ethics. I'm now the director of a faith-based public policy office in Colorado. All that in the wake of one missed clue about Biblical names. Some of my friends still randomly text me the word "Moses" for no reason. Nobody remembers all the clues you got right...

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: