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MIT senior wins on Jeopardy

MIT senior Jiaqi 'Jean' Cui poses with Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek.
MIT senior Jiaqi 'Jean' Cui poses with Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek.
Photo courtesy / 'Jeopardy!' Productions Inc.

Jiaqi "Jean" Cui, an MIT senior from Garden City, N.Y., has won at least two episodes of the popular TV quiz show "Jeopardy!"

In her first appearance, which originally aired on Thursday, April 30, Cui played against Larry Sullivan, an assistant high school principal from Fairfield, Conn., and Liz Murphy, a foreign services officer originally from Scranton, Pa. Murphy came into the game as a five-time returning champion who had won more than $121,000.

Going into the episode's final question, Cui was leading with $14,500, Sullivan had $14,200 and Murphy had $9,100. Although all three contestants failed to provide the correct final answer, Cui's skillful wagering left her with $599 -- enough to secure her a repeat appearance.

In the following night's episode, Cui competed against Andrew Swan, an eighth-grade English teacher from Watertown, Mass., and Toni Vitanza, a flight attendant from Clemson, S.C. As the Final Jeopardy round began, Cui, with $7,192, was trailing Swan and Vitanza, who had $13,600 and $12,000, respectively. Cui put nearly all of her winnings on the line and correctly answered the final question, giving her a come-from-behind win as her opponents failed to come up with the right answer.

Cui will be off the air until May 18 as Jeopardy! hosts its annual two-week college championship. Having signed a non-disclosure agreement, Cui cannot discuss her performance until after each episode airs.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 6, 2009 (download PDF).

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