A senior from Livingston, New Jersey...

Meryl Federman

How did you audition for the show?
I was at the NAQT, which is the national quiz bowl competition, and they had a big tryout there, so I did that. It was a lot of people in the room taking the test and with the questions and the screen, and it was--it was a lot of fun, and then they posted the results in the ballrooms on the ground floor, and that was really good, and then there were mobs of people [laughs] around that, so it was very exciting, and just a lot of quiz bowl people in one place, and...

Did your family help you prepare?
My dad basically tried to find out everything about betting strategy that he possibly could, and, we--we would watch Jeopardy!s, he would be like, "No, that bet was too liberal," "That bet was too conservative," [laughs]--and so we've done a lot of Jeopardy!-watching together as a family, and also I've TiVo'd some and, and watched them on my own, but mostly we watched them all together, so...

Which categories do you hope to see?
This isn't gonna, like, jinx it, is it? [Voice offscreen: "No."] Oh, okay. [Voice offscreen: "It doesn't work that way."] I'd like a Shakespeare category. That would be cool. I know, I know a lot of other people know Shakespeare, too, but it's really [places hands to her heart]--I like it a lot.

What will you do with your winnings?
Uh, I wa--I was thinking, uh, y'know, it's getting earlier and earlier, I should start forming my exploratory committee for my 2040 presidential run. That--that would be cool. [Laughs]

...

What does this victory mean to you?
Well, uh, I guess it means that when people see it, ah, from, Livingston, they're going to, uh, not embarrass me, which they might have had it continued going the way it had on, on Thursday, but, but they will not, and it's definitely going to be exciting and, uh, [whispers] I'm not going to tell anybody else--let's keep this on the DL until it, until it airs. So, uh, it--it's gonna be--it--it's gonna be fun for that and it hasn't really sunk in yet, so I'll get back to you. [Laughs] No--I'm--it's--it's bizarre.

What was the factor that allowed you to win?
The--the second game, I guess, just had the buzzer speed. The--the timing is so important, I think everybody knows that, and it--it's really hard to develop, like, stay on it. So, I think that was--that's pretty much the biggest factor in terms of that, so...

How will you celebrate?
Okay, I think I'm going to celebrate by, uh, short-term, today, uh, definitely, uh, uh, [just thinking of it, pointing] going to sleep. 'Cause this is exhausting. Uh, [laughs]... And, long-term, uh, I don't know, longer-term, I guess, I might celebrate by doing some sort of traveling, because, uh, haven't gotten around to too much of that, because I've just been really busy the past--few years, y'know, junior year, ah. And, uh, so maybe I'll do that. Celebrate at some places that I haven't seen yet.

What was the best part of your experience?
Meeting the other contestants, absolutely. 'Cause we all had a lot of fun together. Especially hanging out in the green room for awhile. So we really got to, uh, bond together, and that definitely was the best part.

Which previous Jeopardy! champ would you like to challenge?
I'm tempted to say Ken Jennings, because I know that I would lose miserably, but just, just to be on this area here with the Jeopardy!, uh, next to Ken Jennings, just to get the aura, I think it would be quite awesome, and awesome as in the cool sense and also awesome as in, like, filling me with awe. Both.

2007 Teen Tournament Summer Games champion (semifinalist by wildcard): $75,000.

18 at the time of the Teen Tournament.

Meryl attended Harvard University the year following her Teen Tournament win.

Meryl won $5,000 on Who Wants to be a Milionaire on 2019-04-30.

Daughter of Season 29 player Todd Federman.

Meryl appeared in the following 4 archived games:
#5285, aired 2007-07-27 Greg Peterson vs. Kyle Neblett vs. Meryl Federman 2007 Teen Tournament Summer Games final game 2. Last game of Season 23.
#5284, aired 2007-07-26 Greg Peterson vs. Kyle Neblett vs. Meryl Federman 2007 Teen Tournament Summer Games final game 1.
#5282, aired 2007-07-24 Aiden Pink vs. Meryl Federman vs. Lisa Ackerman 2007 Teen Tournament Summer Games semifinal game 2.
#5276, aired 2007-07-16 Meryl Federman vs. Andy Hutchins vs. Greg Peterson 2007 Teen Tournament Summer Games quarterfinal game 1.

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