A junior from Florida A&M University...

Gabrielle McMahan

What do you love most about Jeopardy!?
The thing I love most about Jeopardy!, um, is the variety of questions, and Alex's Trebek's suits.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years... I see myself... probably preparing to open my bakery... and... probably just working.

Does your major give you an advantage on Jeopardy!?
Well, my major is, uh, business administration with a concentration in marketing--it's, um, an MBA program--and I really don't think that it gives me an advantage at all, um, unless they ask me questions specifically about the marketing mix or something to that effect. But it does make you well-rounded, business, you know, you have to know every part of it, so... I guess maybe that aspect.

How old were you when you started watching Jeopardy!?
I was very little, um, because my whole family would play. So I was probably around 7.

What do you think of your competition?
Get ready to get whooped. [Spanks the air into her other hand]

...

[After winning her quarterfinal]

What was the turning point during your game?
Well, I missed both my Daily Doubles, which felt like a turning point. It was like, "Awww, I've lost... quite a bit of money here." But, um, no, I guess it was kind of just those moments where I felt like I had to pick up--you know, catch up, but other than that, no, it was pretty smooth.

Have you developed any friendly rivalries?
Oh, they're all friendly rivalries. Everybody is really, really nice. So, we've become, y'know, frienemies, I guess. After when we get up here, to the stage, we're no longer friends. But afterwards, it's all hugs and smiles.

What have been the highlights of your experience?
Um, well, playing has definitely been a highlight. Um, the whole game experience has been great. But like I said, all the people that I've met so far have been really great. I think I'm going to definitely keep in touch, so... It's been fun.

Will you have a party to celebrate your success?
My mom actually had the party planned when she found out. She was like, "What should we serve?" "Mom, I don't--I don't know! It's in four weeks!" Hah! So, yeah, there's--there's a party planned.

What's more fun: spring break or playing Jeopardy!?
Uh, Jeopardy! Absolutely. I, um, didn't really have very much of a spring break this year, so... this has been great, getting out of Florida.

Did you do anything special for good luck?
Um, no. I've just been kind of doing exactly what I did before yesterday. So... that's it...

Congratulations on your victory!

2008 College Championship semifinalist: $10,000.

20 and from Springfield, VA at the time of the College Championship.

Gabrielle's First Blog Entry
Posted May 2, 2008

I am Gabrielle McMahan, a 3rd year professional MBA student from Springfield, VA at Florida A&M University. That's the SBI (School of Business and Industry) introduction that has pretty much become second nature for me to say. I'm interested in lots of things. I watch a lot of TV and love to flip through the channels and just stop at the craziest looking thing I can find. I also like to bake and want to open a gourmet dessert boutique and have a TV show on the Food Network.
I've been playing on the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge team at FAMU for 3 years. And as a member of that team, they asked me to help out with the Jeopardy! auditions. So I was one of the people putting up signs on campus and putting people's names on the sign-up sheet. I really tried to convince lots of other people to do it, because I knew it would be fun and it was! The audition was so much fun, Robert and Maggie were hilarious and made me feel so comfortable despite being a little nervous. So I quickly got over that feeling.
I was pretty sure I had made it immediately after the audition. Getting the call was surprising (mostly because I was asleep), and I was so excited. I tried to tell my roommate and my neighbor but no one was home! Of course when there's big news there is no one around. So I called my mom.
My preparation for the show was really very minimal. I looked at old shows and made sure I watched everyday. I learned a bit of new information but I pretty much felt like if I didn't know it by the call, I wasn't likely to know it by the show.

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Posted May 5, 2008

Man, I loved Madison as soon as I got there. It was so different than I thought it would be! Cute city, although a bit colder than Tallahassee. Then I meet the other contestants and I was blown away again. Everyone was so awesome! Not to say I expected them to be jerks, but I don't know that I expected to like them all as much as I do. I really hope we keep in touch. Being around cool people made doing the promos and interviews much easier. I was so relaxed and willing to have fun with everything. Then we met Alex Trebek. He is a riot. I always assumed he was much funnier and less uptight than he seems on TV and he is. He was so great, I'm glad I got to meet him. Rehearsal was fun too. The signaling button was much different than the one I use for HCASC, but I warmed up to it very quickly. The game is so fun, I didn't want to stop!

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Posted May 6, 2008

Playing Jeopardy! was probably the biggest adrenaline rush I've ever experienced. I didn't really get a chance to wait in the Green Room, which was pretty cool. I was the very first game. I loved the energy of the crowd! I know some of the other contestants were a little nervous about the crowd, there were like 3000 people; but I loved it. It was so cool. I felt like we really gave them a show because it was a tight game and really came down to Final Jeopardy! But luckily, I wagered enough and won to become a semi-finalist!

Be sure to read Gabrielle's next entry!

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Posted May 13, 2008

Going to the semi-finals was so exciting. I tried to do the same thing I had done the day before , maybe a little superstitious. I played well I think. I was behind in the beginning but came very close in the end. I can't remember the scores really, I just played my game. I'm still reliving the moment when I decided not to wager 0 and ended up wagering all of it. Eh, 20/20 hindsight. It was a lot of fun though and I was just glad to be in the semi-finals.

AFTER THOUGHTS

This was like one of the best experiences of my life! Jeopardy! was so much fun. I am so glad I could be a part of this, and that I met all those wonderful people. I feel like I really made some friends. Most of my other friends barely believe it. Many are amazed I made it, and many aren't surprised I made it at all, like it was meant to be. I can't wait for summer. Being on the show has definitely altered my plans. I will be going on a trip to Las Vegas with my best friend for our birthdays. I have to say that trip will be greatly embellished by being on Jeopardy!

Gabrielle appeared in the following 2 archived games:
#5461, aired 2008-05-12 Danielle Zsenak vs. Tara Franey vs. Gabrielle McMahan 2008 College Championship semifinal game 1. From the Kohl Center...
#5456, aired 2008-05-05 Brandon Hensley vs. Meredith Johnson vs. Gabrielle McMahan 2008 College Championship quarterfinal game 1. From the Kohl Center...

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