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Rebecca Rosenthal '20 Ready to Represent Swarthmore on Jeopardy!

Rebecca Rosenthal '20 and Alex Trebek

Rebecca Rosenthal '20 will match wits with contestants from Vanderbilt and the University of Chicago on Thursday, April 12. Check local listings to see when it airs in your market.

Update (April 17): Rebecca finished the semifinal round with $43,600, but was edged out by a single dollar, bringing her impressive tournament run to an end.

Update (April 13): Rebecca amassed $26,000 in a commanding victory that sends her to next week's semifinal round. Check back to see when her episode will air.

Daily TimesSwarthmore student competes in ‘Jeopardy! College Championship’

Although she’s not at liberty yet to say how she fared on the show, Rebecca Rosenthal '20, a classics and art history double major from Ridgewood, N.J., competed in the “Jeopardy! College Championship” in Culver City, Calif., this spring.

The College Championship tournament will air April 9-20 at 7 p.m. 6ABC. Rosenthal’s segment can be seen Thursday, April 12. Over the course of the two-week event, 15 of America’s sharpest students will vie for the $100,000 grand prize and a berth in the next edition of the Tournament of Champions.

She turned 20 years old on March 12, the day the show was taped. The only child of Rick Rosenthal, a retired computer programmer, and Dori Rosenthal, a Registered Nurse, she grew up watching “Jeopardy!”

“My family has been watching ‘Jeopardy!’ forever,” Rosenthal stated. “I always play along so I was really excited to have a chance to play it on air.”

She auditioned for a slot on the show three times before becoming a contestant. After taking an online test, she was invited to an in-person audition three times, once for regular “Jeopardy!” and the other two times for the college tournament. She auditioned in person twice in New York City, and the other time in Boston. Each time that she auditioned, she was required to take another written test, different than the one that she took online, and to play a live game with other contestant wannabees.

The third time was a charm for Rosenthal, when she was invited to come out to California for the “Jeopardy! College Championship.” 


Rosenthal has always been a high achiever. She graduated as valedictorian of her class at Bergen County Academy magnet school in the medical science program where she received the Principal’s Award for maintaining a 4.0 average. She was president of the Quiz Bowl club in high school and continued in Quiz Bowl in college. She also does outreach for Quiz Bowl at local high schools. At Swarthmore, she also is a writing tutor and costume designer. She chose to go to Swarthmore because she admired the students and faculty there.

“I love how focused everyone is here. I learn as much from the fellow students as I learn from the faculty,” she shared. “Everyone is so passionate and sincere about their goals and their interests. I really like that.”


On Thursday night when the show airs, Rosenthal said that she will hold a viewing party for friends in one of the classrooms at Swarthmore College. Back in her hometown of Ridgewood, her parents will hold a viewing party with their friends in their home.

“The whole experience was so scary, yet so fun,” Rosenthal said in an interview this week. “If I had the opportunity, I would go back and do it all again in a heartbeat. The other contestants were awesome. All of them were so smart and so cool. We are all still friends and remain in touch by talking in a group Snapchat. I think the experience was a positive one for all of us.” 

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