Marika 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 firstname.lastname@example.orgTags: Jeopardy
Travis said the work stoppages would be “rolling walkouts,” in which faculty members would strike for one or two days on different campuses. The goal is to minimize impact on students, “while sending a strong message to the administration,” Travis said in a conference call press conference Wednesday. “We have said all along that we do not want to strike, but we will if that is what is necessary, and it is beginning to look like it is,” said Travis, a political science professor at Humboldt State University. Paul Browning, a spokesman for the California State University system, said CSU administrators are worried about the effect the strikes would have on students. “Our biggest concern is would it hurt the students,” he said. “Class closures concern us greatly. If there’s a two-day rolling strike and a student only has classes two days, missing one day is quite a bit.” The average salary of permanent, full-time professors is about $86,000 annually, according to Browning. Tenure-track faculty earn an average of $74,000 annually. About half the faculty members – some 12,000 – work under temporary contracts and earn less than $43,000 a year.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The major contract issues are salary, workload, class size and tenure. The CFA said it is seeking a 25 percent increase over four years. According to a CSU Web site, the administration has countered with a 24 percent hike over four years, which the CFA disputes, saying it interprets the increase to be only 14 percent “when state budget contingencies are pulled out.” The strike votes will take place during the weeks of March 5 and March 12 at the various campuses throughout the state. A simple majority vote is necessary to call a strike. If faculty members vote to walk out, the CFA board of directors will determine when the rolling walkouts will begin. State law prohibits strikes among higher education employees, but Travis said they can take place if the fact-finding process fails. If the faculty members do walk out, it will be the largest strike of higher education teachers in U.S. history. Faculty and student strikes took place on many college campuses during the 1960s era of political unrest, but they were social protests, not union strikes. Some 24,000 professors and other faculty who teach at California’s 23 state university campuses are threatening to strike at the end of March in what would be the first work stoppage over labor issues in the history of the college system. The board of directors of the California Faculty Association, which represents the faculty members, Tuesday night scheduled the strike votes to take place across the campuses in early and mid-March. Contract talks between the union and the California State University system have hit an impasse and a fact finder is currently working to resolve the issues between the two sides. Those results are expected in early March, but CFA President John Travis said the union will proceed with its voting timetable. The CFA’s labor contract technically expired last July, but has been extended by both sides until the fact-finding process is completed and results are agreed upon by both sides.