College senior Elizabeth Meisenzahl competed on Wednesday’s episode of “Jeopardy!” on ABC.
Meisenzahl, a reporter for The Daily Pennsylvanian, appeared as a contestant after following the hit game show for many years. Despite falling into a negative total early in the episode, she came in second place to nine-day winner Cris Pannullo with a total of $10,001 — taking home the $2,000 prize for finishing as the runner-up.
“Jeopardy!” was a frequent occurrence in Meisenzahl’s life growing up. She watched the show with her family every night and discussed the results the following day with her school’s trivia team coach. She decided to take the qualifying test “on a whim” last spring, she said, and got a call a few months later asking her to fly out to California to film the show.
To prepare for the game, Meisenzahl rewatched old episodes of “Jeopardy!” that her family had recorded on their TV, focusing on the science and art categories. She filmed the episode two months ago in mid-August, an experience she got to share with her mother, as the show is allowing a live studio audience once again after temporarily suspending it during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They’re letting people back in the audience again, so my mom came with me, which was really fun. She got to watch all the games and see the whole studio and everything, too,” Meisenzahl said.
Meisenzahl said that while the filming process was tiring because the show films five episodes at once, she enjoyed getting to know the other contestants during breaks in the show. A highlight of her “Jeopardy!” experience was meeting Ken Jennings, a former longtime “Jeopardy!” contestant and current host of the game show.
Meisenzahl is not the first Penn student to compete on the hit trivia show in recent history. In February, then-College senior Mehek Boparai, a former 34th Street editor, came in second place in her “Jeopardy! National College Championship” debut, winning a prize of $10,000.
Overall, Meisenzahl said she was excited that she could be a contestant on “Jeopardy!” and is grateful that she was able to be a part of the show she grew up watching.
“I was really nervous about it before, but now, I am just really happy. It was fun, and I had a good time,” Meisenzahl said. “I got to watch it with my friends, and everyone was super nice about it.”