Indian American UT student wins 250k at Jeopardy! National College Championship


Indian American student at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin has won the Jeopardy! National College Championship taking home the $250,000 grand prize.

Jaskaran Singh, a senior and finance and economics major, claimed the championship title and the grand prize after facing off against Raymond Goslow of Kennesaw State and Liz Feltner of Northeastern University.

Hosted by Mayim Bialik, “Jeopardy! National College Championship” featured 36 contestants representing 36 colleges and universities during the two-week tournament. The show’s two-game finale was prerecorded in November.

“[It] feels pretty awesome,” said Jaskaran, a senior double-majoring in finance and economics at the McCombs Business School at UT as he buzzed his way to the national college title Tuesday night.

“It’ll definitely go a long way towards paying my tuition and a lot more,” said the Indian American student after besting 35 of America’s sharpest undergrads at the tournament.

After months of concealing his victory to friends and family, including his own parents, Singh said he was relieved.

“I’m just glad it’s finally out there so I don’t have to keep quiet about anything, because this month was the worst,” Singh told reports.

“I went about my classes as normal, but when the ‘Jeopardy!’ people said you have to start telling people and posting about it this day and that day, it was pretty rough.”

During the finale, Singh, 22, dominated in early play with a near-$20,000 lead over Goslow at the end of the first game.

By the end of the second and last game of the finale, the Plano native secured the victory. The Final Jeopardy answer: “An 1873 book title gave us this phrase for the period in the late 1800s of growth & prosperity & also greed & corruption.”

This was the third win in a row for Indian Americans. Nibir Sharma from the University of Minnesota won the 2019 tournament and was a semi-finalist in the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions.

Dhruv Gaur from Brown University bagged the championship in 2018 and there were no collegiate contests in the last two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Before them, Vinita Kailasanath had won the championship in 2001.

This time four of the students contesting against Singh were of Indian origin and one was of Sri Lankan heritage.

“Shout-out to my mom,” said Jaskaran when asked in an interview published on the UT website in the run-up to the Feb 18 quarterfinals what did it take to get to “Jeopardy!”.

“I watched “Jeopardy!” when I was a little kid, and my mom had me apply when I was 13, but I didn’t make it past the audition stage. She encouraged me to try again last year, saying, “What’s the worst that could happen?” So much of this stuff is up to chance, but obviously, it worked out.”

He is finishing his final classes at the university and will prepare for a full-time job at Boston Consulting Group in Dallas once he graduates. Now that he’s a quarter of a million dollars richer, Singh said he’s looking to buy a car and plane tickets for a trip to Europe this summer. And the champ is sorting through the hundreds of Linkedin requests he’s received over the last two weeks.