M.I.T. SENIOR LILLY CHIN WINS ‘JEOPARDY!’ COLLEGE CHAMPIONSHIP, CLAIMS $100,000 GRAND PRIZE
CLAIMS $100,000 GRAND PRIZE
U.S. Naval Academy’s Gary Tse Places Second; Stanford’s Viraj Mehta Finishes Third
CULVER CITY, CALIF. (February 24, 2017) – Lilly Chin, a 21-year-old senior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) won the JEOPARDY! College Championship today, claiming the $100,000 grand prize and a berth in the next edition of the Tournament of Champions. Gary Tse, a freshman at the United States Naval Academy, came in second and took home $50,000, while Viraj Mehta, a junior at Stanford University, finished third and collected $25,000.
“My goal for the entire tournament was really just to make it to the semifinals. Everything else was just icing on the cake,” Chin said. “I never expected to do so well and honestly, everything after that quarterfinal win just feels like a dream. After the competition, I actually had dreams where the JEOPARDY! staff called me up and said there was a mistake and that I wasn’t the champion.”
Chin, who grew up in Decatur, Ga., is majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and said her time at the preeminent technology school helped prepare her for her time on JEOPARDY!.
“They say that getting an MIT education is like ‘drinking from a firehose,’ and I think that high-intensity environment helped me remain sharp under the pressure of the tournament,” she said. “Being part of the MIT Trap Shooting team also helped a lot. Coach always says to never keep score and to focus on one shot at a time. Similarly, I didn’t let a broken streak get under my skin too much and I stayed laser-focused on making sure that each buzz counted.”
Chin says she plans to save some of her winnings, and use the rest to pay off her student loans. “The extra money will definitely make my life as a starving grad student much more comfortable,” she said.
Second-place finisher Gary Tse, an 18-year-old freshman/plebe at the United States Naval Academy originally from Ellicott City, Md., is the first student from the Naval Academy to compete in the College Championship.
“It’s a huge honor to be making the Naval Academy’s first appearance in the College Championship,” Tse said. “To have made it to the final three against MIT and Stanford, [and] to show that the Academy can hold its own against those renowned academic heavyweights...it doesn’t get any better than that.”
After proving his mental strength on JEOPARDY!, Tse’s next goals pertain to the Physical Mission of the Naval Academy: “I want to be able to run an eight-minute mile and a half, do over 100 pushups in a two-minute period, and do 30 pullups in a row.”
20-year-old Viraj Mehta, who finished third, is a Mathematics major at Stanford originally from Austin, Texas. He said representing his university was one of the best parts of appearing on JEOPARDY!.
“Stanford is such a wild place to go to school because there’s like a [chess] grandmaster rooming with an NFL draft pick down the hall and two different national championship-winning sports teams in my building, and I know several people who have already published in ‘Nature,’” he said. “So it is nice that I didn’t make a complete fool of myself, because that’s a lot to live up to.”
Mehta eventually plans to get a Ph.D., and is currently doing research on training neural nets to learn 3D representations of images pulled from the internet. He will use some of his winnings “to be a less-poor grad student,” and he has some unique plans for the rest of his $25,000.
“I’m going to definitely give some money to the ACLU because I feel civil liberties need all the help they can get in the current climate,” he said. “Secondarily, I want to go see Wimbledon, since Roger Federer is my favorite athlete of all time.”
Please visit https://www.jeopardy.com/tournaments/2017/college-championship for more about the 2017 JEOPARDY! College Championship.
JEOPARDY!, America’s Favorite Quiz Show®, and its host, Alex Trebek, are in their 33rd season in syndication. With 23 million viewers each week, JEOPARDY! is the top-rated quiz show on television, and has won several awards and distinctions over the course of its 30+ years on the air, including setting a Guinness World Records® record for the most Emmy® Awards won by a TV game show (33 Emmys). JEOPARDY! is produced by Sony Pictures Television, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company; Harry Friedman is Executive Producer. JEOPARDY! is distributed domestically by CBS Television Distribution and internationally by CBS Television International, both units of CBS Corp. For more information, please visit Jeopardy.com.
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