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Graduate student appears on ‘Jeopardy,’ places second

first_imgMarika Kuspa, a Notre Dame graduate student in biological sciences, competed in a Jan. 9 episode of the iconic game show “Jeopardy,” placing second and beating the previous day’s champion.Courtesy of Marika Kuspa Kuspa said she was neck and neck with her competitors during most of “Double Jeopardy,” but fell slightly behind going into the final question. Unfortunately, her answer was not correct.“I was very excited to see the ‘Foreign Words and Phrases’ category in the ‘Jeopardy’ round and the ‘Two-Word Science Terms’ category in the ‘Double Jeopardy’ round,” she said. “I split that category with the other scientist.”As the “fun fact” she used to introduce herself on the show, Kuspa said she referenced her prior scientific research.“I said that I worked in a tuberculosis biosafety level three facility, which requires wearing a full suit, respirator and three pairs of gloves for protection,” she said. “I thought it would be interesting for people to get a glimpse of scientific research in real life.”Kuspa said she began the audition process with an online assessment and was one of more than 100,000 people who took the test that year.“About 2,500 people are called to in-person auditions in a major city,” Kuspa said. “I drove up to Detroit. During the in-person audition you take another written test and then play a mock game of ‘Jeopardy’ against your fellow opponents.“At this point, the producers know that everyone is pretty smart, so they’re looking for people who are TV-friendly.”The production crew tapes two weeks worth of shows in two days and requires contestants to bring several changes of clothing for filming, Kuspa said.In addition to shopping for outfits, Kuspa said she prepared for the taping by watching episodes of “Jeopardy” and reading 74-game champion Ken Jennings’ book “Secrets of the Jeopardy Champions.” Jennings’ winning streak ran during the 2004 season, when he won over 3 million dollars.“Basically I would peruse lists of facts and just see if any of it stuck in my head,” she said. “I also started doing crossword puzzles because those are a great way to learn random facts and they’re fun. Also, I try to stay up on more current events by listening to [National Public Radio] in my car.”Before the taping, producers explained the rules about contestants’ buzzers, Kuspa said.“You can’t buzz in on ‘Jeopardy’ before the question is over or the computer system will lock you out for a fraction of a second in which your opponent can ring in and score,” she said.Although she did not win, Kuspa said she was pleased with her performance on the show and was especially prepared for certain categories.“It was a really great game overall and it would have been even better to win, but I’m not disappointed by my performance.”Contact Tori Roeck at vroeck@nd.eduTags: Jeopardylast_img read more

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Europe trail US in Ryder Cup

first_imgHaving suffered the humiliation of a session whitewash on the opening morning at Hazeltine Darren Clarke’s side responded with sensational performances during the Fourballs to win three of the four matches.The action resumes this afternoon with another set of Foursomes, which get underway just after 1.30pm.Speaking last night, Clarke said that the performance of his players on the opening day has given him plenty of food for thought…last_img

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Iowa’s Secretary of State encourages people to vote today

first_imgMASON CITY — Iowa’s Secretary of State says it’s important for people to vote in today’s city and school board elections. Paul Pate says city government is the most efficient and effective level of government.  He says, “It’s the closest to the voter and is closest to the people who need the services. They’re your neighbors. When you talk about who’s going to decide how to make sure your neighborhood is safe, how many policemen, wherever they be, that’s local government. You’re going to have a fire department that’s going to be there when you need them. When you talk about key things like streets, you make taken for granted today, but I guarantee if you ever have a trash problem, you’re going to call you your city government and want to know where it’s at.”Pate says especially in smaller communities, it only takes a handful of people to decide an election.   He says, “And talk about an impact, I can tell you right now, statistically more local races are impacted by a smaller number of people than you can imagine. 10-to-20 people could push an election one way or the other. So it doesn’t take having thousands, if you spend some time looking just looking at your phone contact list and making some calls, you could be the impacting force that got someone elected to one of these positions.” Pate says every year there’s many elections that are decided by single digits, or in the cases of a tie, a name being drawn out of a hat.   He says, “I can tell you for a fact, we have many elections that are that close where you’re doing that, that are won and lost by 10 and 20 votes more than most candidates ever wanted to have happen. That’s here in Iowa and multiply that across the country. Every vote counts, and we want to make it as simple and easy to vote as we can, and we’re going make it is hard as we can for people to cheat.” Besides winning elections to the Iowa Legislature and to two separate terms as Secretary of State, Pate won municipal elections in November 2001 and 2003 for mayor in Cedar Rapids.last_img read more

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