Wellesley Alum Becomes Most Successful Woman on Jeopardy

May 1, 2014

Julia Collins '05 Wins Eighth Straight Game, Longest Streak for Female Contestant in Show's 30-Year History

screenshot of Julia Collins '05 on set of Jeopardy

The most winning woman on Jeopardy!

Who is Julia Collins '05?

On the April 30 broadcast, Collins won her eighth game, becoming the show’s most successful female contestant in its 30-year syndication. Collins, of Kenilworth, Ill., has won more than $170,000 in eight games.

“I've watched the show since I was a little kid, maybe 8 or 9,” she says. “It was on mid-afternoon when I was growing up, so I could watch after school. I decided to actually try out when I found out there's an online test offered each January. I tried out five years ago and didn't get called, but went through the audition process again in 2013 and got called right before Christmas.”

When she was at Wellesley, Collins double-majored in art and history before going on to earn a master’s in engineering from MIT. Her Wellesley education has continued to come in handy as she competes. “On Tuesday's show,” she says, “I knew that Parson Weems had written the famous bio of George Washington (with the apocryphal cherry tree story) from discussing him in a course on American history through the Revolution with Professor Sheidley [no longer at Wellesley]. I also owe any knowledge of art I display to the Wellesley Art Department, which gave me an excellent foundation in art history. I blame myself for any mistakes! The art department is awesome.”

In addition to trivia super-knowledge, Collins credits the habits and philosophy of her education with shaping her desire to learn. “In general, though, I think the attitude of Wellesley students and the College as a whole toward education was influential. Education at Wellesley, at least in my experience, wasn't viewed as transactional, but part of a lifelong learning process. Wellesley women are expected to be engaged in the learning process, something I was reminded of to my delight when I watched the introductory lecture for Guy Rogers' EdX class on Alexander the Great.”

As Collins competes, she tweets about her experiences behind-the-scenes @jeopardyjulia. Follow along and cheer her on tonight as she returns for her ninth appearance.


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