UT offers students a well-rounded education, and it paid off in a big way for alumnus Jared Hall, who won $182,001 during a six-game run on the quiz show “Jeopardy!” last week.
Hall earned his master’s degree in global policy studies in May 2013 and is now a full-time research associate at UT, working on issues surrounding the Affordable Care Act and health care in Texas.
While Hall’s success is a long way from Ken Jennings’ famous 74-win streak, it still places him among “Jeopardy!” elite and will likely qualify him for the next edition of the show’s Tournament of Champions.
We quizzed him about his big wins.
How did you prepare to compete on the show?
I’m a pretty faithful “Jeopardy!” watcher, so I kept up my routine of watching the show and practicing. I also did a good deal of independent studying, using trivia books, reference guides and the Internet. I focused on subjects where I felt weaker and also tried to reinforce the knowledge I already had.
Did your graduate school experience help you?
Absolutely. My graduate work at the LBJ School [of Public Affairs] exposed me to a wide range of different subjects and disciplines, many of which come up frequently on the show. Success on “Jeopardy!” requires quick thinking and confidence, both of which I think I was able to develop at UT.
What has been the most satisfying moment from the show?
The most satisfying moment came after I won my first episode. That was my goal going into win one episode and then keep it going from there. So once I had jumped that hurdle, I was just having fun playing the game.
What goes on behind the scenes of the show?
Five episodes are taped in one day, so the shows you saw last week were all taped within a matter of about four hours. The whole experience is a whirlwind. Also, once you win one episode, everyone on set starts calling you “champ,” which is fun.
Finally, are you available for hire at trivia night events?
Of course! Unlike many “Jeopardy!” contestants, I’m a relative rookie when it comes to trivia nights and pub quizzes. But it’s definitely something I’m interested in.