Carnegie Mellon Students Selected To Appear on Popular Game Shows
Carnegie Mellon News Online Edition
In This Issue

University Police Making Efforts to Increase Campus Safety

Groundbreaking Anticipated for New Collaborative Innovation Center

Local Teachers Learn How Robotics Can Enhance Science Education

Job Recruiter Carolyn Dillon Aims to Spark Increase in Diversity Among University Staff

University Hosts White House Meeting on Cybersecurity

Carnegie Mellon's SEI Opens Office in Frankfurt, Germany

New Web System Allows You to Publish Immediately

Martin Luther King Day Celebration Set for Jan. 20

Carnegie Mellon Dedicates Gailliot Center for Public Policy at Business School

New Program Integrates Engineering and Business Degrees

Carnegie Mellon Students Appear on Popular Game Shows

CollegeProwler Gives Prospective Students the Inside Scoop

Dana Vinson Tours with Papa Roach, Appears on MTV by Winning Ultimate SPIN Essay Contest

News Briefs
Language Technologies Experts Get NSF Grant to Help PAT's Phone-Based Information Systems

New Technology Created to Improve Respirator Masks

CAMT Creates Arts and Culture Observatory

Center Assists Regional Arts Organizations

$1.9 Million Hewlett Grant Supports New Web-based Courses

Meltzer's New Book Praised by Greenspan

Developing "Smart" Cars

Successful Groundhog Day

Creating Software for Security

A Breathtaking Experience

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Jara Dorsey
Carnegie Mellon Students Appear on Popular Game Shows
Jara Dorsey Advances to Jeopardy's College Championship Finals

Answer: This senior voice performance major was a finalist on the 2002 Jeopardy College Championship.

Question: Who is Jara Dorsey?

That's correct, Carnegie Mellon's Jara Dorsey, a head orientation counselor and member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, made it to the final round of the 2002 Jeopardy College Championship. Dorsey finished third overall in the tournament, which played out over two weeks on television. She won $10,000 for her performance.

For Dorsey, a Steubenville, Ohio, native, appearing on the popular television game show was a dream come true.

"Jeopardy has always been a big thing in my house," she said.

Growing up, she watched the program every night with her mother and aunt. She said people have always told her that she should audition for the show, so this year, she visited Jeopardy's Web site ( and registered for the contestant search.

Last May, Dorsey joined about 100 other hopefuls at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan, where the would-be contestants took a 50-question test. Once the tests were scored, the top 12 participants were selected to compete in a mock game, complete with buzzers and question board. After about a quarter of the game was completed, play was stopped and each contestant was interviewed.

After several months of waiting, Dorsey received a phone call in August inviting her to be one of the contestants on this year's college championship. The shows were taped this past October.

As a performer, Dorsey is accustomed to being in the spotlight. However, before the show she said she was more nervous than she thought she would be. Many of her friends attended the taping, which was held at The Ohio State University in nearby Columbus, Ohio. Her mother and aunt also attended, which made her very nervous.

"I didn't want to let them down," she said. "They're the ones I credit with getting me here."

As the competition began, Dorsey relied on her experience as captain of her high school's academic team to get her through the games. "I just wanted to get to the finals," she said.

The Jeopardy College Championship pitted 15 college students against each other in tournament style. Three students competed against each other in the initial five games. The winners advanced to the semi-final round and were joined by the four non-winners with the highest scores.

The winners of the three semi-final games played against each other in the finals. The competitor with the most money at the end of the two-game championship round was the Jeopardy College Champion.

Although she didn't win her initial game, Dorsey did finish with enough money to earn a wildcard spot in the semi-finals. She won that game and joined students from Ohio State and Texas A&M University in the final round.

Dorsey said that she didn't really know what to expect from the experience, but the pressure was more than she anticipated going into the championship. Even with a large group of family and friends cheering her on during the taping, there was still an overwhelming amount of hometown support for the student from Ohio State, which made a tough game even tougher to play.

Looking back on the competition, Dorsey has mixed emotions about the experience. "It was too, too stressful," she said. "It was a nice diversion and I can say that I did it, but I'm glad that it's over."

Her advice for aspiring Jeopardy contestants? "Play a lot of videogames so you can get in on the buzzer."

The Jeopardy College Tournament aired the weeks of November 11 and 18 on Pittsburgh's NBC affiliate, WPXI-TV.

Jason DiVenere
DiVenere Earns Spot on The Weakest Link

When sophomore Jason DiVenere covered open auditions for The Weakest Link television game show as part of his summer newspaper job last May, you could say he gave the assignment everything he had.

So much so, that he earned a spot on the show's college edition, which aired this past November.

The Weakest Link brings six players together to answer trivia questions and to work as a team to earn prize money. Contestants vote to eliminate a fellow contestant off the show after each round.

"Being on The Weakest Link was a great experience," said DiVenere, a student in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. "I didn't win, but it was fun to participate.

"Taping a show at NBC (Burbank, Calif.) was really fun. It was interesting to see all the processes that happened to put the show together."

DiVenere said he spent eight hours in the studio, two of which were spent taping the 22-minute episode.


Susan Cribbs

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