A senior from University of Maryland...

Lisa Makar

How did you prepare for today's show?
I... actually... didn't... prepare... as much for today's show. I work and I go to school in the summer, so there hasn't been a lot of time. But definitely on the plane, my dad was quizzing me and asking me the little questions that he thought I should know.

How did you react when you found out about the Kids Week Reunion?
When I found out there was going to be a Jeopardy! reunion I was really excited. I'm not gonna lie. I still watch Jeopardy! I watch it with my friends in college. So I was really excited to come out and do everything and maybe take in all the stuff I missed last time.

Do you have a nightmare category?
A nightmare category? Probably WORLD GEOGRAPHY. I just--not my thing.

Was there anything embarrassing you did on your first appearance?
On my first appearance, not too many embarrassing things. I do believe I told everybody I wanted to be a nurse 'cause I wasn't afraid of blood, but [laughs] besides that, not so much.

"As a seventh grader, she was planning a career as a nurse, but that was mostly because she wasn't grossed out by blood. Her plans have matured a bit since then. She's now a senior at University of Maryland. Here's..."

2008 Kids Week Reunion player (2008-09-18).
1999 Back-to-School Week player (1999-09-10).

I still cannot believe it was ten years ago that I first appeared on Jeopardy! I remember coming home from gymnastics practice one night right as Jeopardy! was ending to a commercial about a parent/child show. Being one of my mother's favorite shows, she convinced me that we should try out. Figuring it was next to impossible that I would get on, but realizing it would be much easier to concede, I agreed to partake in the tryout rounds.

Once we made the cut and got an in-person try out, I got more excited. My mother and I were able to go to downtown Cleveland together, but then were immediately separated for the written test. Much to my surprise, we made it past the written test and I got to play a mock Jeopardy! game. I remember thinking that I did all right and knew a few questions and more importantly, I had a lot of fun and laughed a lot. As we were leaving, the coordinators told us we'd be notified by the first week in June if we were selected. Walking out to the parking lot I thought, "Well that was fun, how many eleven year olds can say they got to play with the real Jeopardy! buzzers?"

When the first week of June came and went, I realized that I was not one of the fifteen kids selected to be on the first ever kids Jeopardy! I figured as much, and went on doing my normal summer routine of sleeping in late, going to gymnastics practice, and hanging out with my friends. About five days later, I was sitting at home with my mom watching The Price Is Right, when a FedEx truck pulled into our driveway. Much to my surprise, there was a registered package that was actually addressed to me. Within fifteen seconds, I was able to rip open the cardboard envelope and scan the cover page just fast enough to yell to mom, "Oh my God! I'm going to be on Jeopardy!" My mom and I stopped the FedEx delivery man in the driveway and told him immediately. I think my excitement was contagious, because he gave me a hug and told me I'd be great!

Like most typical eleven year olds, I was much more excited about flying on a plane, going to California, and getting to stay in a fancy hotel than actually preparing for the show. However, upon my father's advice, I learned all my state capitals. Imagine my surprise, when the first category in my game was actually titled STATE CAPITALS.

The game itself was a whirlwind of excitement. I remember everyone being so fun, the kids were normal, and we all played in the swimming pool together. On the day of my taping I started to get a little nervous. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to see over the podium and that I wouldn't get any questions right. Luckily, there were boxes for us kids to stand on so I could comfortably stand behind the podium and see the board. The first time I met Alex Trebek, I was star struck. He quickly calmed all our nerves with funny jokes and old stories. I had a lot of fun playing the game and came in a very respectable second place.

This second place finish got me two computers and a trip to Universal Studios in Florida. My sister, parents, and I had the time of our lives in Florida and I was able to sell one of the computers for $1,000 (which is the eleven-year-old equivalent to a million bucks). Surprisingly, I was actually able to save almost all that money for seven years. Then my hard earned cash was converted into the typical college kid's dorm room necessities, including the trendy Nautica comforter that I just had to have for my first year of college.

I spent my first two and a half years at the University of Maryland enjoying my newfound freedom. The spring semester of my junior year I accepted a six-month co-op with Johnson and Johnson in Philadelphia. One day on my way home from work I got a call from an unknown number. Figuring it was my boss calling me about something, I answered it rather professionally. The voice on the other end quickly informed me that he was a Jeopardy! representative and the producers were considering doing a "where are they now" feature on their former child contestants. We chatted for about twenty minutes about what I've been doing, where I'm at school and my favorite Jeopardy! moments. When we were ready to hang up I mockingly told the man "Hey, I'd be all right if you wanted to fly me back out to California to play again." He laughed at me and said he'd see what he could do. The rest is history.

Lisa appeared in the following archived game:
#5524, aired 2008-09-18 Lisa Makar vs. Zach Safford vs. Dmitry Spivak 2008 Kids Week Reunion game 4.
Lisa previously appeared on Jeopardy! as Lisa Makar in the following archived game:
#3450, aired 1999-09-10 Allex Fambles vs. Curtis Joseph vs. Lisa Makar 1999 Back to School Week game 5.

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