USFSP Professor to Appear on ‘Jeopardy!’ March 10

A photo of USFSP Professor Dr. Norine Noonan with longtime

Dr. Norine Noonan with longtime “Jeopardy!” TV show host Alex Trebek.

Dr. Norine Noonan, professor of Biology and director of Advanced Placement for the Summer Institute at USFSP, will be featured on a new episode of “Jeopardy!” on Thursday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m.

“Tens of thousands of people take the online test each year, but there are only about 400 people chosen to appear on the actual show,” said Noonan, a longtime fan of the show who has watched “Jeopardy!” since its first incarnation in the 1960s when Art Fleming served as host.

Noonan auditioned in Tampa in summer 2015 after completing an online test. She said she was ecstatic when Jeopardy representatives contacted in her December with an invitation to compete as a contestant. She was one of about 20 contestants that day for the taping of five episodes.

“We were kept in a secure room—‘Jeopardy!’ is very proud of its reputation for integrity—unless we were in the studio competing,” said Noonan, who was able to watch fellow contestants.

Noonan described the experience of competing on the show was significantly more difficult than she had anticipated. “Of course, it’s so very easy to be an armchair contestant,” she added. “It was actually pretty stressful – more than I thought it would be.”

The most challenging aspect of the show was learning the timing of the button to ring in to answer. “Too soon and you are locked out; too late, and you won’t get to control the board… and controlling the board is what it’s all about,” she said.

Noonan described her time on the show as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, adding that once a contestant appears on the show, he or she cannot try out again in the future.

Tune in to watch Noonan compete on “Jeopardy!” on local CBS affiliate station WTSP Channel 10.