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A Lafayette professor competes on Jeopardy!

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek obtained the Guinness World record for most game show episodes hosted—6,829 episodes on June 13 of 2014. Seeing as there is usually three contestants per episode, that means over 20,000 people had appeared on Jeopardy since Alex Trebek took over as host. Added to that number is Lafayette’s very own Professor Christianne Gadd.

Visiting from Lehigh University and currently teaching Introduction to American Studies, Professor Gadd fulfilled a dream when she flew out to LA last week to be filmed on Jeopardy!.

“I watched Jeopardy my whole life,” Gadd said. “I started when I was a little kid—I think a lot of people do.”

With a love of trivia, reading and research, Gadd seems like a good candidate for Jeopardy!. The content of the beloved American game show has a wide range of questions from all fields of study. However, Gadd had been trying for the past ten years to be a Jeopardy! contestant.

The process is lengthy. As of 2006, Jeopardy! implemented a preliminary online test. If the applicant passes, they may get called to an in-person audition. The in-person audition includes taking another written test, along with playing a mock Jeopardy! game.

After her interview in 2013, the contestant coordinator said, as related by Gadd, “We can’t tell you if you passed the test, but if you passed the test, we’ll put you in the contestant pool, and we may or may not call you in the next two years. If you don’t hear from us in the next two years, you have to start all over.”

“All of my family and friends for the next six months were like, ‘Did you hear from Jeopardy? Did you hear from Jeopardy?’” said Gadd. And she consistently had to answer no.

Gadd had completely forgotten about it until she received a phone call from an unknown California number. Jeopardy was calling. Upon listening to the voice-mail and realizing it was a contestant coordinator, she immediately called back.

Gadd then made hasty preparations to rework her syllabus for her upcoming week filming in LA. Upon telling her class that she was going to be a contestant on Jeopardy! her students told her to “Bring us money if you win!”

Although Gadd cannot actually tell anyone the results of her time on the show, the Lafayette community can see for themselves this summer, on July 16 when her episode airs.

Once a contestant appears on Jeopardy, they can never return to the show, unless invited to an event such as the Tournament of Champions. Although the process was long, for Gadd, “it was worth the wait.”