A senior from the Ohio State University...

Jennifer Duann

What's harder: preparing for Jeopardy! or cramming for a mid-term?
Um, probably cramming for a mid-term. [Laughs] 'Cause Jeopardy!'s--for me, is really just for fun, so... yeah.

Describe your ideal spring break.
My ideal spring break would probably just be spent hangin' out with friends. We might--we travel--we might travel somewhere. Um, y'know, just relax, because spring break is so short, um, you really don't--I don't know--have time to go a whole lot of places, so just kinda relax and hang out with people, so...

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Um, after I graduate, I'm going into the Masters of Education program at Ohio State, and I'm going to become a teacher!

Show your school spirit and tune in!

2009 College Championship quarterfinalist: $5,000.

21 and from Worthington, Ohio at the time of the College Championship.

Jennifer Duann Blog Entry 3
August 14, 2009

Obviously I wish I had done better and gone on to the next round, but it was also nice in a way not to have to worry any more. On the second day of taping I shared a cab to the studio with the other “orphans,” since we hadn’t had to catch the 7:30 bus with the semi-finalists. At the studio we milled around with the other guests for about twenty minutes while a staff member yammered on about taping procedures and cracked some very bad jokes. (His day job apparently consists of signaling the audience to be quiet, so I can’t blame the man for talking his jaws off when he had the chance!) We were escorted back to the set, where we rooted for our new friends all the way to the end. It was impossible for me to pick out anyone in particular that I wanted to win because I thought we were all in the same boat and I thought everyone was pretty swell. (A tiny part of my vanity wanted someone I had lost to in the first round to make it to the final round, just to be able to say I had lost to the champion, but that wasn’t really a big deal.) I think everyone was a really good sport, cheering loud and long when the winner was finally crowned. During the reception that followed, we all took turns mugging with the $100,000 podium, the Thinker statue, and the rest of the set pieces.

When I got back to Columbus, I was able to tell people when my show would air. As more and more people (including the school newspaper) found out, however, I started having second thoughts. Would people be disappointed that I hadn’t made it past the quarter-finals? Had I let down my school by not beating Laura to the punch on the question about Ohio State? Was PR going to haul me in for questioning when they saw I couldn’t answer why our school was called THE Ohio State University? I realize, though, that what’s done is done. Out of four hundred plus people who auditioned and the thousands more who took the online test, I was one of sixteen people who were chosen to compete. That’s an accomplishment in and of itself. I got a free trip to California, made my first appearance on national television, and met Alex Trebek. That’s good enough for me! (And, to paraphrase a friend of mine, Somebody’s gotta lose! ^_~ )

Jennifer Duann Blog Entry 2
May 5, 2009

I didn't get to meet any of the other contestants until Tuesday morning when Maggie and Karina came to pick us up. The lobby had been transformed into the college sweatshirt convention, with all sixteen of us milling around flaunting our alma maters. After some paperwork shuffling and an hour-long bus ride, we arrived at Sony Studios and were promptly whisked into the green room, which is, in fact, green. They took the boys away to makeup first, while the rest of us signed still more forms and chatted with Robert about our fun facts.

After we were made up, it was time to tape promo clips—a glorified term for cheesy mugging for the camera. (Don't tell anyone how much I enjoyed it!) Then we all went back onstage for rehearsal, where I first encountered the infamous signaling device. The timing had to be very precise: ring in too early and you lock yourself out for a few seconds; ring in too late and, obviously, someone beats you to the punch. I couldn't quite get the timing right in the first round, but found my groove in the second rehearsal and was feeling pretty confident.

The Game

There were lots of people running around the set all morning, but as 11:00 neared, there was still no sign of Alex. I was slated to compete in the first round, so I took my place behind the first podium quivering with anticipation. Johnny Gilbert had already announced the episode number and air date as taping began. The lights came up and Johnny announced our names…”And here is the host of Jeopardy!, Alex Trebek!” When he came around the corner I clapped so hard my hands hurt, but once he opened his mouth I couldn't help thinking I was seeing and hearing a robot because I was so used to hearing that voice coming out of my TV set, not a live human being!

We began gameplay but had to stop right away because there were some problems with the clues coming up properly on the screen. When they stopped the tape to fix the technical glitches, we contestants were told to turn our backs and Maggie and Robert would rush over and chat us up. (I was reminded inexplicably of horse races, when the racehorses are accompanied to the gate by post ponies to keep them calm.) The crew worked out the hijinks and we kept playing.

Even though I'd felt comfortable with the buzzer during rehearsal, I couldn't get the hang of it during the game. I wasn't terribly confident about several of the categories either, but I tried my best. At one point I managed to ring in first…for a question I didn't even know the answer to! I made something up—I didn't get the question—and just kept on. In Double Jeopardy! I did a little better, almost sweeping a category about Geronimo. When it came time for Final Jeopardy! I had $7400 and was in third place. I could hear my friends back home advising me to bet it all, and I almost did—I wagered $7000. The question was about the fifty states, but I blanked on the state that was spelled one way and pronounced another. (I put Illinois, the answer was Arkansas.) I ended up with $400 and was fairly sure I wouldn't be going on to the semi-finals, but I'd had a good time and nothing to lose. Now if only they would change the rule about not competing again…

Jennifer Duann Blog Entry 1
May 4, 2009

My Jeopardy! journey began in October when I took the on-line test. I had missed several of the previous tests, but this one was on a Wednesday night when I didn't have class or any meetings to attend. The questions were harder than I'd expected, but I gave it my best shot and hoped for the best. Two days later, to my great surprise, I received an e-mail inviting me to an audition in Chicago. I checked my calendar and found that I was free the first week of November, so I made my travel arrangements and counted down the days until my audition.

I almost didn't make it at all. I stayed with a friend who attends the University of Chicago in Hyde Park. From there I planned to take a bus downtown to the Westin, where the auditions were being held. That Sunday morning I took one bus to the Museum of Science and Industry, where I intended to transfer to another line that would take me the rest of the way. It should have tipped me off when I didn't see anyone else at the stop, or anywhere nearby for that matter. After about twenty minutes, I called the Chicago Transportation Authority and was promptly informed that the bus in question didn't run on Sundays. Trying not to panic, I called my friend at her apartment and asked her to look for alternate routes into the city. She instructed me to walk to another street to catch a different bus, but when I was still about a hundred yards away I saw the bus I wanted rattling past. I probably looked like a lunatic running down the street with my suitcase clattering behind me, but fortunately a cab driver pulled over and asked if I needed a ride. At this point I had thirty minutes to get to the Westin, so I climbed in and gave him my last twenty dollars to take me downtown. (He also treated me to his colorful views on politics…bear in mind this was two days before the election!)

At the audition I was mildly disappointed that Alex himself wasn't there, but I was really sort of expecting that anyway. It was great to meet the other contestants, even though I felt a little out of place among all the quiz bowl alums and five-time auditioners. I was just there for fun, chasing a crazy dream of mine! When I was up for my practice round, one of the categories was related to cooking, which I did rather well on, if I say so myself. Before I knew it, we were finished and I was on my way back to Columbus.

I didn't hear anything for months. Then, on the first day of spring break, I was on the phone with a friend when I heard the beep of an incoming call. I looked and saw that it was from a number that had been in my list of missed calls earlier that afternoon. When I picked up, I heard a voice say, "Hello, is this Jennifer? This is Glenn from Jeopardy!" Alarm bells went off in my head, but I managed to answer all his questions confirming my undergraduate status and contact information. After a few minutes of this, he finally said, "Well, Jennifer, congratulations, you have been selected to compete on the Jeopardy! College Tournament!" At this point my brain went into orbit and I don't remember much of the conversation, but my automatic note-taking skills honed in the lecture hall served me well and I scribbled down all the preliminary details. When I finally got off the phone, I stood up and did a very undignified happy dance in my church's library, then called my friend back to tell her the news. I didn't tell my parents until later that evening, and I don't remember how I broke the news to them either. I've been counting down the days since then and can't wait to meet the contestants, crew, and Alex!

Jennifer appeared in the following archived game:
#5686, aired 2009-05-04 Jennifer Duann vs. Laura Myers vs. Mark Petterson 2009 College Championship quarterfinal game 1.

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