WILLIAMSBURG — Lucy Greenman, a student at the College of William & Mary (W&M), took a senior trip that she’ll never forget.
This year, Greenman flew out to California to film an episode for “Jeopardy! National College Championship.” The show features 36 students representing 36 colleges and universities. Greenman traveled to the west coast to represent W&M on the show.
“It was pretty surreal. You only ever see the whole stage and everything with all the T.V. magic going,” said Greenman. “People who have been on the show previously have said, ‘Oh, it’s smaller than I thought,’ or ‘The board is farther away than I thought,’ and there was that. I think you realize that it doesn’t actually all sparkle and pan. That’s the work of cameras, but it’s just so incredible to look at the podiums there, especially to stand behind them.”
The whole process of getting on one of the most well-known shows in the U.S. took a relatively long time and was actually a competitive process. Greenman remembers taking an online qualifying test called the “anytime test”.
“Eligibility for it renews like once a year,” said Greenman. “I think I probably did that every year of college. Just whenever it came up. Then, what do you know? One time I guess I did well enough to be invited to the next round.”
That was in the fall semester of her junior year. When Greenman was on her winter break that year, she received an invitation to take a second-round online test. Then in spring semester she was invited for an online interview which kind of resembled a mock game of “Jeopardy.”
“Then, I didn’t hear from them in upwards of six months. Just not a word,” said Greenman. “Absolutely nothing, and so I started my senior year, and I knew that my eligibility was going to end when I finished college. Since it’s a college championship. Then, I just got a text. Literally a text. Not an email. Not a phone call. A text.”
Nothing was guaranteed for Greenman for a month and a half after that point. All Greenman knew was that she was being considered for the show. She moved from a shortlist to a shorter list and then to an even “shorter, shorter list.”
Greenman wasn’t allowed to share the news with anyone during this whole process of multiple rounds of testing, interviewing, and waiting.
“It was very surreal because after about 4 rounds of, ‘Okay you’re still on a shorter list,’ I started to believe that it was actually going to come true,” said Greenman. “They didn’t let me tell anyone. They were like, ‘Don’t tell your parents at this point. Don’t tell your professors that you’re going to miss class because nothing’s set.’ So, I don’t know for how long but probably like 6 weeks it was just getting more and more likely and no one around me knew. My roommate didn’t find out until a couple of days ago.”
Flash forward to February and now an episode of “Jeopardy!” is set to air featuring Greenman. She hopes that she made her school proud with her “Jeopardy!” performance.
“I have so much respect for people who are good at ‘Jeopardy.’ Especially people who are fast on the buzzer,” said Greenman. “We obviously just saw Amy Schneider’s amazing long run, and what they said about her is that she just had the buzzer timing down so well. Obviously, she has immense knowledge about a huge variety of things as well.”
The W&M senior will be graduating with a degree in Health Analytics. It’s a degree she designed herself during her sophomore year of college. It’s also a degree that provided for her a unique experience throughout the past few years while attending W&M. She says that until last semester, she never had two classes that were in the same department.
“I always knew that I was interested in maternal health, in labor and delivery, it was just a question of how I am I going to build that out of the existing departments at William & Mary,” said Greenman. “The balance wounded up being doing a minor in Gender Sexuality & Women Studies, and then self design this major which I call Health Analytics which combines primarily biology, public health, and data science. But over the years it’s taken on a lot more economics and public policy to be more of a well-rounded public healthcare degree.”
She admits that her studies at W&M helped out when she answered questions during her time in the California studio.
“‘Jeopardy’ is, and honestly college, I think, too, a lot more about breadth over depth. Like the ‘College Jeopardy’ format, you kind of know that they’re going to emphasize school subjects and pop culture. So knowing a little bit about a lot of things is huge,” said Greenman. “When you’re at home you just read the clue and know the answer. If you can read fast, then you’re the best one at ‘Jeopardy’ in your home.”
Greenman looks forward to graduation and she plans on attending nursing school afterward.
“Jeopardy! National College Championship” will premiere on Feb. 8, 2022, at 8 p.m. Greenman’s episode is set to air on Feb. 15 at 8 p.m.