Canisius grad competes on “Jeopardy!”

by Jourdon LaBarber

Editor-in-Chief

A lifetime of viewership was all it took for Lindsey Ohmit Love, ’08, to land her spot on Thursday night’s episode of “Jeopardy!” She’d spent her weeknights watching the popular game show from the time she was 18-months-old, or at least she’d been told, and she continued watching on her own when she lived in the Honors House at Canisius.

In January, Ohmit Love filmed the episode that aired on Thursday following a one-year application process that resulted in her being chosen from a pool of roughly 100,000 applicants. When she finally walked into the studio after years of seeing it on screen, she said, the feeling was dreamlike. They record five episodes a day, so for much of the day she was a member of the audience. Between each episode, she said, host Alex Trebek changed into a new suit.

“It felt so surreal,” she said. “It was a surreal experience. I’ve been watching it for so long, it was like ‘Oh my God, I’m actually here.’”

Ohmit Love’s first step towards getting there was an online test; it consisted of 50 questions and she was given seven seconds to answer each. She took that test in January 2014, and from there she received an email that’d she been accepted to a follow-up round. Hers was in Washington, D.C. over the summer, followed by another 50 question test, a practice round with buzzers and then a social interview.

In December, Ohmit Love was at work at John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies when she received the call. She studied for the taping, but for the tests prior she had gone strictly off her own knowledge. Her areas of expertise are history, specifically in Europe (she did Eurosim all four years at Canisius) and literature; her weakness is sports. For art questions, she said she would have liked to have the option to phone her sister.

“It’s really funny, if anybody ever saw my entire family sitting down and watching ‘Jeopardy!,’ between the six of us we can pretty much get everything,” she said.

Ohmit Love said that the Liberal Arts education she received at Canisius proved to be a useful tool in her quest to get on the show.

“The big thing with the Canisius education is the well-round individual, and nothing requires a more well-rounded background than ‘Jeopardy!’” she said. “Even having specialized knowledge, they can throw anything at you so having that well-rounded, even just figuring out problems, taking a broad overview and then applying it to different things, is definitely applicable. Because you might not know the answer to every question, but you can figure it out.”

In the months since she taped the episode, Ohmit Love was required to keep the results a secret. For a moment on Thursday, those watching on television might have expected her to win. She weaved her way through questions about praying mantises and Polaroid cameras, she showed an impressive knowledge of actress Helena Bonham Carter’s filmography, and her correct response to the night’s Final Jeopardy question flipped her from third place to first.

The question – or rather the answer – was this: Now in its fourth edition, the book with this title first appeared in 1918 as a 43-page guide for Cornell English students. Ohmit Love’s response, written on Jeopardy’s trademark blue screen, was, “What is the Elements of Style;” her wager was $8,501. She was correct, and at $18,701, she was the leader.

Another contest also responded correctly, however, and Ohmit Love’s bid came up short. She watched from a viewing party with her coworkers from John Hopkins, happy for having had the experience.

“I had fun,” she said, laughing.

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