The J!Effect Alumni Stories
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
Jeopardy! Led to My First Job Out of College
During my interview segment (2007 College Championship), I mentioned that I was interested in Teach For America. Someone at TFA saw the episode and encouraged me to apply for a TFA recruitment position on my campus. Two years and two different TFA jobs later, I was finally eligible to apply to the teaching corps itself.
Finishing My Degree
My Jeopardy! winnings came at an opportune moment for finishing my PhD, as I had run out of funding and needed more time. One of my professors joked that I won the Trebek Dissertation Completion Fellowship. I defended my dissertation in December of 2009, a year after I taped my episodes. I graduated in 2010 and am now teaching at Michigan State University.
I'm a proud alumna!
I appeared on Jeopardy! way back in April 2002, well before the idea of wide-reaching social media. Being on Jeopardy! was a dream of mine reaching back to high school, so achieving my dream and being a one day winner was amazing. Fast forward to 2016, when I was invited to join the alumni group of former contestants on Facebook. I am so honored to be among such a fabulous group of fun, witty and kind people from all walks of life. Being a part of that group has truly been the best part of my Jeopardy! experience!
I had just received my $12,001 in winnings when my wife and I went to a Rotary convention in Sin
I had just received my $12,001 in winnings when my wife and I went to a Rotary convention in Singapore. I had always said that if I had "mad money," I would get three things: a Rolex watch, a tailor-made suit and Cuban cigars. When we got there, we spent an afternoon fulfilling that dream, buying the watch, getting measured for the suit and purchasing the smokes. I went up on the roof to light up and enjoy an adult beverage while my wife went to the room to rest. When I came back, she was on the bed crying. I asked what was wrong, saying that this had been one of the greatest days ever. She said, "I guess I need to tell you I'm pregnant!" Fortunately, I had about two-thirds of the money left, so we closed in our carport for a den and freed up the extra bedroom for baby #2, Jason, who became our Jeopardy! baby.
Attached is a picture of me with Jason, now 18 years old.
Robomom Reaches Out
I had wanted to be on Jeopardy! since Mrs. Bowie Kuhn was on the program back in the 1960s. When she said you had to pass a test to be on the show, I decided that was the one for me.
When I actually took and passed the test, and then got the call, I was thrilled. The crew was amazing – they accommodated me and my wheelchair, screwing a director's chair to a box so that I would be the same height as everyone else.
Alex and I talked about the "Robomom" nickname my kids had given me and about my multiple medical "gifts." When the first show aired, I had a call that evening from a woman in Virginia who had the same condition. I had always planned that I would share my winnings with charity. I had no idea that I would also be sharing my life story with other people. That was even more precious. Thanks, Jeopardy!
A voice from my past ...
I was introduced in the show as a police officer from Rockville Centre, NY. So after my two shows aired, I received a phone call from the Rockville Centre Police Department. They had received a phone call from a Miss Weiszmiller who was my third-grade teacher. She told me that Jeopardy! was one of her favorite shows and how proud she was to have a former student on the show. She said she remembered me as being a voracious reader even as a third-grader.
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: