Jaskaran Singh, an Indian American senior student at the University of Texas at Austin won the Jeopardy! National College Championship.
The 21-year-old senior from Plano, Texas at the McCombs School of Business won the $250,000 grand prize during the two-game, hour-long primetime final on ABC on Feb 22. He had a cumulative score of $51,700, nearly $5,000 more than Kennesaw State’s Raymond Goslow’s runner-up total, The American Bazaar reports. He beat out a group of 36 contestants from different schools.
“[It] feels pretty awesome,” Singh told Jeopardy!. “It’ll definitely go a long way towards paying my tuition and a lot more.”
His win is the third in a row for Indian Americans. Dhruv Gaur of Brown University won the 2018 tournament, Nibir Sharma of the University of Minnesota won in 2019, and there were no collegiate contests in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. Prior to these three winners, Indian American Vinita Kailasanath won in 2001.
Four of the students competing against Singh this time were of Indian origin, and one had Sri Lankan heritage.
The UT News interviewed Singh, who said that he applied to the show when he was 13 but did not make it past the audition stage. His mom “encouraged me to try again last year, saying, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ So much of this stuff is up to chance, but obviously, it worked out.”
He said he has been involved with Quiz Bowl in high school and college and even won the national championship in high school.
He called himself a “normal guy,” but added, “I like to read the news to keep up with what’s going on, and I especially like learning about history. The videos YouTube recommends for me are pretty nerdy based on my preferences.”
The final Jeopardy! question was about the Gilded Age, so it seems Singh’s knack for history came in handy.
The Texas Longhorn’s strategy for coming out on top? According to his interview with Jeopardy!, “Buzz fast and know things.”
The University of Texas at Austin has released a statement stating that the school lit the UT Tower with an orange top to celebrate his victory.
When asked about his life outside Jeopardy!, Singh discussed his future plans for a job with Boston Consulting Group in Dallas. He also mentioned that his success on the show has improved his professional prospects.
“I had 250 requests on LinkedIn last week,” he told UT News. “I’d prefer to keep everything low-key, but my parents are urging me to post and get people watching.”
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