CMC happens to be a Jeopardy! powerhouse. At least six alumni and two faculty (Jack Pitney and Chris Nadon) have been contestants in recent years. On March 23, Senior Class President and Robert Day Scholar Daniel Ludlam '18 made it to the show-a rare accomplishment for a current student. Though he did not advance, Ludlam put in a solid performance and drew on his CMC coursework as a dual politics, philosophy and economics and government major for some answers.
Why did you decide to try out for the show?
In September 2016, I took the College Jeopardy! online test and scored very well. While I was primarily trying to get on the College Championship, I took the adult test as further practice. In April, I got an email letting me know that I had been selected for a callback for the adult Jeopardy! competition.
More than a year after I took the online adult test for Jeopardy!, the producer called to let me know that I had passed the test and had been selected from the contestant pool to film at the Sony Pictures Studio in Culver City.
What did you do to prepare?
I found the best way of studying for Jeopardy! was using the Jeopardy! archive, a fan-created website where hundreds of thousands of clues from past shows are entered and stored. During my summer in Washington, D.C., I created a Google spreadsheet with more than 100 different tabs of general categories, clues, and answers.
Studying for Jeopardy! enriched my life outside of the show itself. I was able to engage with other people on a wide variety of topics that I learned about while studying. Although my filming has concluded, I am now hungrier than ever to learn as much as I can about the world.
How did you do on the show?
Unfortunately, I lost my only game, but I am thrilled to have had the experience. Both Prof. Pitney and John-Clark Levin '12 advised me that the buzzer was much harder than it looked. They were right.
Jeopardy! was a fantastic experience, and I had a lot of fun filming. Between Alex, the producers, and the other contestants, I met a lot of great people. I would absolutely recommend Jeopardy! to anyone interested in showing off their smarts on camera and earning some money.
How did what you were learning in class help you on the show?
Between the online test, the callback audition, and the game itself, a number of the questions I encountered had some crossover with what I'd learned at CMC. I was taking Constitutional Law with Prof. George Thomas when I took the online test, and one of the questions asked for the first Supreme Court Chief Justice with an alliterative name. We just had read about John Jay, so that material was in my short-term memory. One of the questions also asked me to identify a quote from "Meditations" by a French philosopher-I had read Descartes as a part of Prof. Amy Kind's Philosophy of Mind class my sophomore year, and easily got that question. On the show itself, my Freshman Humanities Seminar-Identity in Latin America with Prof. Lee Skinner-lent itself quite nicely to the Double Jeopardy! category of Mexican States.