LSU student won first round of Jeopardy, will advance to semi-finals
BATON ROUGE – 21-year-old LSU student Stephen Privat is smart—graduating as a junior this year.
But more than that, the political science major was asked to put his knowledge to the test on prime time television.
“I have been watching it ever since I was a kid. Pretty much every night, I would try to watch it,” he said.
Privat’s passion for trivia led him to audition for Jeopardy last year and after a few more rounds of vetting, producers told him he would represent LSU in the National College Championship with 35 other schools.
By Thanksgiving, he was in Los Angeles.
“It was weird. The set is a lot smaller than I thought it was. It looks a lot bigger on TV, but it’s pretty small. It’s also really cold in there, so it was good that they gave us hoodies and stuff to wear because it was just cold generally.”
The Lafayette native says he took a lot of online quizzes to prepare for the competition. His specialty is Greek mythology.
“I read Percy Jackson as a kid and loved those books, so I was really interested in that when I was younger, so I feel like I know a lot about that.”
But there’s one subject he prayed didn’t pop up.
“One category that comes up on Jeopardy that I never answer the questions right is the opera category. I don’t know anything about opera, so I was hoping nothing like that came up.”
Although he is competing against some of the top schools in the country, Privat says he was prepared.
“There were 35 other schools there. All of the Ivy Leagues except for Colombia was there, so it definitely felt like a lot of pressure because they seemed like much better academic schools, quote-unquote than LSU, but I don’t know, I think just being on there is a testament to what any kind of public school can do. Just because it’s a public school doesn’t mean the Ivy Leagues are better than us or anything, so I think I did a pretty good job of representing LSU.”
Pivat’s beat contestants from Rice and Princeton to win his first round of Jeopardy. He will advance to the semi-finals.