Study Abroad advisor McNitt is on a Jeopardy! winning streak

By Katherine Klingseis, The Des Moines Register

Sarah McNitt, a study abroad adviser at the University of Iowa, poses with Alex Trebek, the host of Jeopardy!
Sarah McNitt, a study abroad adviser at the University of Iowa, poses with Alex Trebek, the host of Jeopardy!.

An Iowa woman will play her sixth Jeopardy! game on Tuesday’s episode, according to a Jeopardy! news release.

Sarah McNitt, 33, has won five consecutive Jeopardy! games. McNitt, a study abroad adviser at the University of Iowa, will play her sixth game and attempt to add to her $89,398 winnings on Tuesday’s episode.

“I definitely didn’t expect to do so well; I went out there planning to just have fun being on the show and wasn’t focused on how I was doing against my competitors,” McNitt said in the news release. “All in all, the experience felt completely surreal. When I met my family outside the studio after the show, I just kept bursting out laughing. ‘Is this real life? Did that really just happen?’”

McNitt currently lives in Coralville, but is originally from Ann Arbor, Mich., according to the news release. She earned a bachelor’s degree in French from Albion College in Albion, Mich. and a master’s degree in information (human computer interaction) from the University of Michigan.

She first tried out for the Jeopardy! College Championship in 1999, and continued to take the adult online test when she was eligible.

“I’ve had the idea in my head since I was a kid,” McNitt said in the news release. “When I was applying to colleges, one of the essays I wrote talked about how I wanted to get a liberal arts education because it would prepare me to be a contestant on JEOPARDY!.”

Two weeks before McNitt’s Jeopardy tape date, her mother died after a nine-month battle with leukemia. McNitt and her family have “spent a significant amount of time and energy since then reflecting on the organizations that helped her and were important to her,” McNitt said in the news release.

“I plan to use some of my winnings to organize and fund a blood drive and a bone marrow registry drive in Iowa City in the fall, and my family will organize a fundraising group in memory of my mother for the LLS’s Light the Night Walk. She was a regular viewer of the show, and I know she would have liked to see me play,” she said.

McNitt plans to donate some of her winnings to the Red Cross; the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Be the Match, a bone marrow registry. She also intends to use some of the money to pay off debt and take a postponed honeymoon to Ireland, the release stated.

Watch McNitt challenge two more people on Tuesday’s Jeopardy. In Des Moines, Jeopardy airs at 3:30 p.m. on WHOtv. For other areas’ show times and stations, check here.

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