The longtime dream of Ben Raphel ’09 will be fully realized Friday night when the trivia powerhouse and healthcare data analyst appears on Jeopardy!.
“I’ve always loved game shows and watched the show all the time as a kid,” the St. Johnsbury, Vt., native tells the Caledonian Record.
At Swarthmore, Raphel would watch Jeopardy! with floormates in Wharton Hall EF 2nd. He took the online test to get on the show most years, earning two auditions for College Jeapoardy! and one for the flagship show.
Raphel’s fourth audition was the charm, and he flew to Los Angeles in August to film his appearance.
“This was the first time I got the callback,” says Raphel, a senior health informatics analyst for the Center for Health Information and Analysis in Boston. “I’ve been waiting a few months to see the final product.”
The appearance shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows Raphel. He competes in an online trivia group called Learned League and hosts a weekly pub trivia night in Boston. In 2005, he became front-page news as the captain of the St. Johnsbury Academy Scholars’ Bowl team that won a state championship.
At Swarthmore, Raphel was an Honors political science major with a minor in history. He was a sports editor for The Phoenix, booked and coordinated Paces parties, belonged to the College Democrats, and filled various roles for the Athletics Department including public address announcer.
Raphel earned a master of public affairs at Indiana University Bloomington in 2014 and fortified his Swarthmore roots this past October by joining President Valerie Smith and fellow alumni for the Boston kick-off event of the Changing Lives, Changing the World campaign.
Although he can’t say how he fared on Jeopardy!, Raphel points to sports, geography, and pop culture as strengths. He joins a long line of Swarthmore alumni to compete on the program, including Arthur Chu ’08 and Jove Graham '96. As part of a Q&A with the Jamaica Plain News, Raphel offered advice to those who may follow.
“My advice to anyone who gets on Jeopardy! is to HAVE FUN,” he says. “It’s noticeable when contestants are enjoying their time, and when others are freaking out. Ultimately, it’s a TV show, and it’s a game, so have a good time with it."