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Q&A: LSU student discusses appearance on the Jeopardy! National College Tournament

 Stephan Privat, an LSU student and contestant on Jeopardy! National College Championship, which begins on Feb. 8, 2022.
Courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.
Stephan Privat, an LSU student and contestant on Jeopardy! National College Championship, which begins on Feb. 8, 2022.

What is…the chance to appear on Jeopardy? One student at Louisiana State University now has the answer!

On Monday, Louisiana Considered host Karen Henderson had the opportunity to speak with LSU's Stephen Privat, political science major from Lafayette, about his appearance on the Jeopardy National College Tournament, which airs Tuesday, Feb. 8.

The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity. 

Karen Henderson: Jeopardy has been around in one form or another since 1964. When did it become a part of your life?

Stephen Privat: So I've always really been a fan of Jeopardy as far as I can remember. I would always love watching it at my house. A lot of my teachers during school liked it too. They would put it on in class and that was always the highlight of my day. As far as actually getting on the show, it all started in September or October of 2020. I took the online test, which is just on Jeopardy's website. If you pass it, you get invited to go back for another audition. After that initial audition, there was one more where we would play like a mock game with other contestants anduse pins as buzzers to buzz in and everything.

They [also] did a little interview process. Kind of just asked you about yourself, your school, all that kind of stuff. And then from there, I didn't hear anything from them until September of that year. So about six or seven months, just radio silence. Once I got the call, obviously I was super excited. It took a couple months before it was confirmed that I would be on the show.

The whole process was just awesome. And then in November 2021was when we actually went and filmed the tournaments.

KH: : That's exciting! We just think about the wealth of nowledge that you need to have to be able to be a part of this show. What did you do to prepare? Did you bingewatch the show? How'd you prepare?

SP: Yeah, so I definitely watch the show as much as possible. You don't know the categories or anything. So I was just trying to learn as much general knowledge as you could. I would take a lot of geography quizzes, like match the state capitals – that kind of thing online. And just paying attention to my classes and learning all the random little facts that I could from those classes. Looking up and learning about things I was really interested in was the best way to approach it.

KH: Did you have a best category? SP: I am a political science major, so science isn't necessarily my strong suit.

I really like history categories and mythology. I think those are my two strongest categories.

KH: What was it like for all the contestants when everyone finally stepped onto the Jeopardy set?

SP: It was awesome. I love doing it. They flew all of us out. We filmed the whole tournament in the span of like a few days, so we were all there at the same time. They had us all staying in the same hotel and we really got a chance to bond. We'd go to dinner and breakfast together and spend time together outside of filming. So it was really cool – just being able to talk to all these different people from around the country and just create some really cool friendships with a lot of them.

KH: For any young Jeopardy fans who also might want to step up to the podium one day, what advice do you have?

SP: I would say just learn whatever you can. If you're really interested in a certain topic, learn as much as you can about that topic. Become more knowledgeable with different things, different topics and don't just focus on one thing. Have a broad knowledge base because it really does help with Jeopardy, obviously.

And take the test whenever you get a chance online because it's free, it's easy. And takes 15 minutes to do. You can do it in your room.

Copyright 2022 WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio. To see more, visit WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio.

Patrick was the Regional News Director for the news collaboration between WRKF Baton Rouge and WWNO New Orleans, from 2019 through 2023.