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Smith Senior (Literally) in Jeopardy

Stacy Lee ’03 will be put to an intellectual test when she competes in this year's College Jeopardy! Championship, facing off against 14 other students from universities and colleges around the country to prove her trivia prowess and to defend Smith's honor.

Lee, who is completing a major in mathematics and a minor in East Asian languages and literature, was selected from an applicant pool of thousands to compete in the 2002 College Jeopardy! Championship. The show, which will be taped on October 5 and 6 at Ohio State University, will air nationwide from November 11 though 22.

An avid fan of the show, Lee decided on a whim to enter her name into the applicant pool through a form on the Jeopardy! Web site. After watching the show for years, she said, "I'd always thought that I could do better than the contestants."

To her surprise, she received an invitation to take the 50-question general knowledge test that serves as a prerequisite for advancing in the audition process. Lee also went through a two-minute practice game against two other potential contestants, as well as an interview with show personnel in which she told producers that the show's $50,000 grand prize would likely be put toward paying off her student loans and traveling.

Lee didn't expect that anything would come of the audition process, but she soon received a call from the show's producers, inviting her to appear on the College Championship.

"They called my cell phone," she recalled, "and I was in the middle of a restaurant with some friends, so there was lots of screaming when I picked up the phone."

Jeopardy! producers are flying Lee to Columbus, Ohio, for the contest, in which five episodes will be taped each day. Lee looks forward to visiting a friend who attends Ohio State University and has promised to be in the audience while she competes.

Lee has been reluctant to tell people of her upcoming appearance on the show because she doesn't want to invite pressure to do well from her friends and family and because she won't be able to discuss the show's results until after it airs. The people she has told have been mostly enthusiastic, though Lee notes that her parents, Wendy and Henry Lee, of Bellerose, New York, seemed nonplussed.

"Because I'll be missing classes for the taping, my mom asked me if I would be turning Jeopardy! down in order to go to class," she said, but Stacy expects that they'll be more excited when she actually appears on the show.

Not unexpectedly, Lee also admits to being somewhat nervous about the show.

"There are always episodes where one person gets all the questions right," she said, "and I'm afraid of going up against someone like that and losing."

But whatever the outcome, Lee will have an attentive viewing audience when the show airs in November as well as some degree of campus celebrity. The appearance of a Smith sweatshirt on national television will likely be enough to guarantee plenty of recognition and many congratulations.

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