Bowdoin College student to go on game show ‘Jeopardy!’

Bowdoin College junior Cindy Cammarn, who is competing in the annual Jeopardy! College Championship.
JT Leonard | The Times Record
Bowdoin College junior Cindy Cammarn, who is competing in the annual Jeopardy! College Championship.
Posted April 08, 2013, at 1:40 p.m.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Gogettem, Polar Bear.

Bowdoin College junior Cindy Cammarn left Saturday morning for several days of hullabaloo and ballyhoo in Hollywood, where she will compete against her postsecondary peers in the annual “Jeopardy! College Championship.”

The winner gets $100,000 and a slot in the historic game show’s “Tournament of Champions.”

Cammarn, 21, is a native of Charlotte, N.C., majoring in English and history and with a minor in theater.

“I’ve been watching ‘Jeopardy!’ since I was little. It was the last thing I watched before my 8 p.m. bedtime,” Cammarn said.

Some prompting by a friend convinced her to take the introductory screening test in spring 2012. Then she forgot all about it until she got an email notifying her she’d been selected for the second round, which included traveling to Boston last November for a second 50-question test, brief “personality interview” and some in-person mock game play — complete with handheld buzzers.

“The buzzers, and playing in front of all those people, were a little intimidating,” Cammarn said. “You can’t just buzz in as soon as you know the answer, which is frustrating. You have to wait until [host Alex Trebek] finishes saying the last word of the answer.

“Apparently, timing is everything,” she said.

She’s been practicing ever since.

“I’m trying to focus on auditory clues,” she said, “but I’m pretty sure the first chance I’ll have to test my theory will be on national television.”

Keeping quiet

Cammarn is spending today and Tuesday in Los Angeles while the various rounds are recorded for broadcast. The two-week event will air beginning May 6, and Cammarn — as well as every other contestant — is sworn to secrecy upon her return to avoid releasing any outcome spoilers.

If she wins, she said, the gag order definitely will be the hardest part of all.

However, if she flames out in the first round, she said it probably will be even harder to listen to friends’ expectations of watching the broadcast.

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