Photo courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.

Lisa Schlitt '07 with Alex Trebek, on the sets of Jeopardy!, the popular game show.

February 7, 2017

Make it a True Daily Double! Cornell Alumna Wins Over $100,000 on Jeopardy

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Category: Cornell alumni. Answer: Who is a ’07 alumna with a 6-day winning streak?

Lisa Schlitt ’07 is no longer in jeopardy after winning $139,100 across her 6-day winning streak on the game show Jeopardy.

Although the CALS alumna, who majored in biology, wished there were more science questions throughout the seven games, she said her preparation and love for trivia equipped her well for the competition.

Schlitt has been a long-time fan of Jeopardy, watching the game regularly with her dad during her childhood. Eventually, her trivia savvy prompted her to consider auditioning.

“As I got older, I realized I was good at remembering useless nonsense,” Schlitt said. “I got into trivia and decided to just keep trying out for it.”

Trying out for Jeopardy is actually simple, according to Schlitt. Online tests evaluating participants on both speed and accuracy are often posted for anyone to take.

After the initial online tests, Jeopardy calls in the potential contestants for a preliminary round consisting of mini-games of Jeopardy. Based on this audition, producers then decide who will be given the opportunity to appear on the show.

Jeopardy gives contestants at least a month’s notice before their tape day. During her month-long preparation, Schlitt said she studied “just a little bit,” focusing on categories she knew were often covered in the show.

Schlitt made sure to review world capitals, American presidents, some of the more obscure Shakespeare plays, poetry and art — “just some things that I knew tend to show up that I wasn’t necessarily going to know,” she said.

Surprisingly, Schlitt admits that she did not go into the game with a fully developed strategy as she has heard some contestants do.

“My goal was just to know as much as I can and hopefully get some questions that favored me and that other people didn’t know,” she said.

However, Schlitt did develop a wagering technique in the Final Jeopardy round, which she said came down to betting nearly everything because “basically you don’t have anything until you win, so you may as well just go for broke.”

“Wager based on what the other people had or what your score is relative to that, instead of what the final category actually is,” Schlitt recommended.

Schlitt’s seven-day run on Jeopardy came as a complete shock to her. After the fear of the first show, Schlitt admitted that the following shows got easier as she felt less pressure and improved her timing when answering questions.

“You have to get used to how he reads it, how his voice is; you can read the clues to anticipate when he’s going to get to the end of it and time it from there,” Schlitt said.

Admittedly, her Cornell classes did not prove too helpful in the trivia. However, one of her senior electives — “Introduction to Wines” — in particular, sparked a conversation topic with Alex Trebek, who rued that he missed out on it as an undergrad.