Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek and student Erika Sloan

UPDATE: Erika Sloan, a Middlebury College sophomore, advanced to the semifinals of the Jeopardy! College Championship on Wednesday, February 19, and finished second in the competition. Thus she did not advance to the final round.

On Friday, February 14, Sloan beat her two competitors in the first round of the championship.

Middlebury College students, staff, and faculty viewed Erika’s performance on Jeopardy! in Crossroads Cafe in the McCullough Student Center. Jeopardy! airs locally at 7 p.m. weekdays on WPTZ-TV. For air times and stations nationwide, visit the show’s website.

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - Erika Sloan, a Middlebury College sophomore, will be a contestant on the national television game show Jeopardy! on Friday, February 14. A pre-med classical studies major, she will participate in the show’s annual College Championship, which takes place February 10-21. 

Sloan, a resident of Simsbury, Connecticut, is one of 15 students from colleges and universities across the United States competing for $100,000 and an automatic berth in the next Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions.

Jeopardy! was part of every evening at our house when I was growing up,” said Sloan. “Watching it was exciting and fun, and being on the show was something that I’ve always wanted to do.” Her favorite categories of questions on Jeopardy! involve mythology and word play.

To qualify for the College Championship, contestants had to complete a 50-question online test, and those who passed were selected at random to attend regional in-person auditions consisting of a second 50-question test, mock game play, and a brief interview. Contestants traveled to the Jeopardy! studio in Culver City, California, in early January to tape the show.

Middlebury sophomore Erika Sloan (first row, second from left) is one of 15 students from colleges and universities across the United States competing in the annual Jeopardy! College Championship.

“The College Championship is one of the most competitive tournaments on our schedule,” said Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek in a press release. “Every Jeopardy! contestant plays to win, but our college contestants have an added level of motivation: school pride. Every one of them wants to represent their college well, and this extra motivation makes for fun and exciting game play.”

Sloan is not the first Middlebury College student to compete on Jeopardy!. In 2003, Keith Williams, then a first-year student from Manchester Center, Vermont, won the show’s College Championship. Williams is now U.S. program director at the New York City-based nonprofit Global Family Initiative and a freelance writer. He also contributes to a blog he created, The Final Wager, where he offers analysis of Jeopardy! wagering strategy. The site recently attracted news attention because returning champion Arthur Chu stated that he had used tips from Williams’ blog during the show’s Battle of the Decades tournament.

To prepare for being a contestant, Sloan read several books on how the show works and talked with Williams about his experience. “Keith was very helpful,” said Sloan. “He gave me advice — primarily about wagering — and pointed me towards a few good subjects to review, including world capitals. He also told me what to expect at the studio on taping day.”

During the first week of the championship, each player will appear in one of five shows. The winners of each of these shows, along with the next four highest money earners, will go on to the semifinals. In the second week, the nine semifinalists will compete in three shows for a place in the two-game final match. This year’s college champion will receive a minimum $100,000 cash prize. The second place contestant is guaranteed at least $50,000 and third place pockets a minimum of $25,000. Semifinalists receive $10,000 and players eliminated in the first week receive $5,000.

Contestants are restricted from discussing the outcome of a show prior to its air date.

Middlebury College students, staff, and faculty may view the show at 7 p.m. on Friday, February 14, in Crossroads Cafe in the McCullough Student Center. Jeopardy! airs locally at 7 p.m. weekdays on WPTZ-TV. For air times and stations nationwide, visit the show’s website.

2014 Jeopardy! College Championship Contestants

  • Laurie Beckoff, a sophomore at The University of Chicago (Chicago, Ill.), originally from Hollis Hills, N.Y.
  • Kenesha Bennett, a senior at Oakwood University (Huntsville, Ala.), originally from Huntsville, Ala.
  • Julia Clark, a senior at Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass.), originally from Saskatoon, SK, Canada.
  • James Fulwiler, a junior at Temple University (Philadelphia, Pa.), originally from Baltimore, Md.
  • Ben Juster, a senior at the University of California, Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Calif.), originally from Woodland Hills, Calif.
  • Maria Khrakovsky, a senior at The Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio), originally from Columbus, Ohio
  • Cameron Kim, a senior at Duke University (Durham, N.C.), originally from Riverview, Fla.
  • Terry O’Shea, a sophomore at Princeton University (Princeton, N.J.), originally from Bridgewater, N.J.
  • Tucker Pope, a sophomore at Texas A & M University (College Station, Texas), originally from Lubbock, Texas
  • Kevin Shen, a junior at the University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, Calif.), originally from San Jose, Calif.
  • Erika Sloan, a sophomore at Middlebury College (Middlebury, Vt.), originally from Simsbury, Conn.
  • Sarah Stevens, a sophomore at the University of Delaware (Newark, Del.), originally from Dover, Del.
  • Alex Sventeckis, a senior at Ball State University (Muncie, Ind.), originally from Fishers, Ind.
  • Whitney Thompson, a junior at the University of Oklahoma (Norman, Okla.), originally from Tulsa, Okla.
  • Eric Turner, a senior at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tenn.), originally from Huntsville, Ala.