The category: Cool College Experiences.
The answer: This Furman University junior will appear on the game show “Jeopardy!” in April, where she will compete against 14 other college students from around the country.
The question: Who is Caroline Trammell?
That helps explain why Trammell ’19 has spent much of her spring semester at Furman remembering to phrase her answers in the form of a question. She was preparing for an appearance on “Jeopardy!’s” College Championship, which airs April 9-20 (locally on WLOS-TV at 7:30 p.m.).
A biology major from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Trammell got the call on the last day of fall semester classes that she’d be competing on the popular show hosted by Alex Trebek. “So, it made it a little hard to concentrate on exams,” said Trammell. “I was heating up food in the microwave when the call came. The first person I told was my roommate who ran in to see what I was screaming about, and then I called my parents.”
Trammell grew up watching “Jeopardy!” at her grandmother’s house where she and her brother stayed in the afternoons. “I loved literature and mythology, which are two of the categories that come up often in the game. So, every once in a while, I would actually get some of the answers right,” she said.
But her love of the show didn’t stop there. She says she absorbed information just by watching the show over the years. She was only 12 when her parents signed her up to qualify for “Jeopardy!” Kids Week where she advanced to the next round but was not asked to appear on the show.
As a high school student, she tuned into the show sporadically, but the desire to compete followed her to Furman. Said Trammell, “On a whim, I decided to test for the College Championship and made it to the face-to-face interview, but I didn’t make it to the show.”
Undaunted, she tried out again for the College Championship. The first step was to sign up for the online test. “The test is comprised of 50 questions and you have 15 seconds to answer each one. If you get a certain number of questions right, you are placed in a pool with a chance to be invited to audition,” she explained.
Having nailed the online test, she moved on to a regional audition in Atlanta where she took another qualifying test and played in a mock game against two other “Jeopardy!” hopefuls. Typically, 200-250 students advance to this round, which is more about gauging stage presence and personality. “The producers really help set the mood,” said Trammell. “They want to make sure you don’t get nervous on stage, can talk with a clear voice, and maintain poise while playing.”
Trammell was thrilled to be selected among only 15 students to compete in the College Championship, which was taped in Los Angeles the week of March 12. But Trammell is sworn to secrecy about the results, so she won’t be spilling the beans between now and the April TV broadcast.
Apart from the excitement of appearing on “Jeopardy!,” Trammell got to experience her first trip to Los Angeles, where she and her family spent a day at Disneyland. “I’m a pretty big fan,” said Trammell who in 2016 traveled to Disneyworld in Orlando for Furman’s MayX “Math and the Mouse.”
On top of her penchant for Disney and “Jeopardy!,” Trammell enjoys reading, juggling sorority events, watching Netflix with her roommates, and learning to cook at her North Village apartment. She said, “A few weeks ago, I made gumbo for Mardi Gras and invited friends over to watch the parades on a livestream.”
Come April 11, the date of Trammell’s quarterfinal, maybe she’ll have a “Jeopardy!”-watching party. And, if all goes well, her friends will see her winning big.
You can watch a Jeopardy! College Championship preview video here.
The daughter of Anna and Jeff Trammell of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Trammell plans to go on to medical school after graduating Furman in 2019.