Category: College Students. Answer: John Anneken, PhD. Question: Who is the University of Cincinnati postdoctoral fellow from the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy who will appear on "Jeopardy!” in May 2013?
What made you decide to try out for the show?
"I have always been into trivia quizzes and, in particular, 'Jeopardy!' I first tried out for the 'Back to School' competition they hold for 11- and 12-year-olds at the end of grade school. I also applied for the Teen Tournament and was offered an interview, but didn't get the message until it was too late. As an adult, you have to take the online test and conduct an in-person interview, which I had done once before. My eligibility ran out that time, so I tried again, and six months later I got the call!"
What is your educational background (i.e., where are you from, how did your education progress)?
"I am originally from Cincinnati. I often tell people I never graduated from anything until high school. I was moved up past kindergarten to first grade, and then I attended Covington Latin School in Kentucky, which is an accelerated high school that takes students from seventh to ninth grade. Once I graduated from Latin School, I attended Loyola University in Chicago, where I majored in an unlikely duo of subjects: Latin and biology. After graduating from Loyola, I came to UC to study for a pharmacology PhD at the James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy with Gary Gudelsky, PhD, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the college. I recently (November) completed my PhD, studying the long-term effects of Ecstasy abuse in the brain."
Was this the first time you'd been to Hollywood?
"This was the first time I had been to Southern California, let alone Hollywood. It was a surreal experience, seeing all the landmarks like the Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theatre that I've heard referenced in the media in person. Unfortunately, we didn't have any 'star' encounters in our brief time in the area."
What was the most stressful part of being a contestant ... and the most fun?
"The hardest part of the contestant experience was waiting, and waiting, and waiting to get started. I got the call two months before my appearance, so I had plenty of time to envision how it would go, good or bad. Once the time approached, I became more anxious. The time I was on the stage playing was relaxing compared to the anticipation! While it's hard to pick one aspect as the most fun, I would say it was the gameplay experience itself, getting acquainted with the buzzers and learning how the podiums fit into the game."
Who out of your family or co-workers is making the biggest deal out of this?
"I don't think I can pick one family member; it would have to be all of my family. I think, both before and after my appearance, they were even more excited about it than I was. I have hardly had to call anyone to tell them about my upcoming appearance, as my family has done the legwork for me!"
Is this the biggest secret you've ever had to keep?
"At the moment, I can't think of one much bigger. I certainly can't think of one with bigger stakes, as the show doesn't send the prize checks until four months after the air date of the show, regardless of how you do. I'd say that's a pretty good motivator to keep my mouth shut! So, you'll have to tune in May 1 to see how I do representing UC!"