Global studies professor appears on ’Jeopardy!’, wins game

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Angel Saldivar

Charles Fogelman, professor in LAS, participated in the famous game show “Jeopardy!” in December. Fogelman talks about his experience and love for the show.

By JP Legarte, Staff Writer

Dr. Charles Fogelman, professor in LAS, competed on the well-renowned TV show “Jeopardy!” back in December.

On Feb. 16, his performance aired live on national television. He won the episode and walked away with $10,500. Fogelman emphasized that he was a big fan of the TV show ever since childhood; he always made sure to tune in after the school day.

“It was something that I could watch and I think feel clever and precocious watching because I knew a decent amount of the stuff, and I feel like I learned quite a bit from it too,” Fogelman said.

Fogelman applied for the show 15 years earlier when he was 27, admitting that participating in his first marathon the day before the audition heavily affected his test performance.

Fogelman saw his second chance at the show when he found an Instagram advertisement last summer saying that “Jeopardy!” was searching for professors to appear on the show, influencing him to apply.

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    After the show officially invited him to be one of the contestants, he started preparing for his appearance in a unique but fun way.

    “I’d heard (at) a lot of places that it’s much more about quickness on the buzzer than it is about knowledge,” Fogelman said. “I decided the only thing I could really do was work on my hand-eye coordination, so I played a lot of Switch with my kids. I credit that for any good luck I had on ‘Jeopardy!’”

    When reflecting on the experience, Fogelman admired how everything was a well-run machine and highlighted what it was like to meet the other contestants.

    “The thing that really stuck out to me though was meeting the other people,” Fogelman said. “It was a sense of community. We had a sense of camaraderie. We were all in this together.”         

    Fogelman also discussed the limitations surrounding who could know about his “Jeopardy!” appearance and when his family and colleagues could learn the results of his performance.

    “I really had to fight an urge to ask him, like, ‘What happened?’ even though I knew it would spoil it for me, and I didn’t want to know, but I was tempted to ask him,” said Malcolm Jamal, academic adviser in LAS.

    Riley Toennies, senior in LAS, remembered the exact moment she officially learned that Fogelman appeared on “Jeopardy!”

    “I think I had an inkling that he might be on ‘Jeopardy!’ from his Twitter from the night before, but I thought that he was joking,” Toennies said. “But no. I get into class the next day, and he pulls up his slides with his little photo from ‘Jeopardy!’ … And I was like, ‘OK, damn! He’s actually on ‘Jeopardy!’”

    Fogelman compared his “Jeopardy!” experience to a marathon in Boston that he ran in the past.

    “There’s this great moment when you run through Wellesley there, and all the students are just screaming, and you get to feel like you’re a celebrity,” Fogelman said. “The ‘Jeopardy!’ thing was that same thing, that same little 15 minutes of fame and … a fun way to surprise and entertain my friends and loved ones.”

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