Dr. Lisa Dresner, a writing professor at Hofstra University and resident of Forest Hills, Queens, says she has auditioned to compete on Jeopardy! for decades, since the late ‘90s. It wasn’t until this year that she made it onto the beloved trivia game show, which is pre-taped and airs on television every weekday evening.
The country will get to see Dresner compete in Jeopardy!’s first-ever professors tournament on the episode airing Wednesday, Dec. 8.
“I was surprised to be chosen,” Dresner says, “but I was thrilled because I’ve been trying for so long.”
Dresner, who has taught at Hofstra since 2004, is an associate professor in Hofstra’s Department of Writing Studies and Rhetoric and director of the LGBTQ+ Studies program. She is also the author of The Female Investigator in Literature, Film, and Popular Culture.
In the past, Dresner had traveled to California and auditioned in person at the Jeopardy! studio — once in the ‘90s and again in the 2000s and 2010s.
This time around, there were several rounds of online tests and Zoom auditions, she says. In late September, she learned that she was chosen for the professors tournament. Then, in late October, she was in California for the filming.
Though the Covid-19 pandemic made Dresner leery about traveling, she noted that Jeopardy!’s health and safety protocols made her feel well-protected, including mask wearing by all producers on set. Contestants also wore masks while not filming or getting their makeup done and were tested for the virus.
While she couldn’t reveal much about the show itself, Dresner says she enjoyed bonding with the fellow Jeopardy! competitors.
“It was really fun to meet all the professors from all over the country,” Dresner says. “It was pleasant to just chat with all these great people.”
In the Dec. 8 episode, Dresner competes against professors from The Naval Postgraduate School in California and the University of Colorado-Boulder.
The Jeopardy! Professors Tournament begins Dec. 6. Contestants will compete for $100,000 and a spot in the Tournament of Champions. Mayam Bialik hosts the special Jeopardy! episodes.
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