Nibir Sarma competing at the Jeopardy! College Championships

CSE student returning to ‘Jeopardy!’ for Tournament of Champions

Chemical engineering junior Nibir Sarma competes against 14 other winners

Last year, Nibir Sarma brought excitement to the University of Minnesota community when he won the “Jeopardy!” College Championship, giving Gophers everywhere something to root for amid a spiraling COVID-19 pandemic and the absence of sporting events. Now, in May 2021, the College of Science and Engineering junior is back on television.

Sarma is competing in the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions, which pits 15 of the game show’s top winners from the past year against each other. The contestants will be vying for a $250,000 grand prize, and second and third place winners will receive $100,000 and $50,000, respectively.

The pre-recorded tournament will air May 17-28 at 4:30 p.m. on KARE 11 in the Twin Cities. Sarma's first appearance was on the Tuesday, May 18 episode, and after making the competition's semifinals, Sarma will return for a chance to advance to the finals on Wednesday, May 26. 

“It definitely felt different compared to the first time I was on the show,” said Sarma, a recipient of the University’s Presidential and Gold Scholarships and CSE’s Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Sciences Procter and Gamble Company Scholarship. “In our downtime, we shared a lot of stories about our experiences the first time each of us was on the show. I just really loved being back on set again. It felt really great meeting a whole new group of people and getting to be on the show again.”

Sarma, a veteran of the University of Minnesota Quiz Bowl team, watched his first-ever episode of “Jeopardy!” the night before his audition last year. But this time around, with the stakes being higher, he watched quite a bit of the trivia show to prepare.

“I specifically looked at past ‘Jeopardy!’ questions in categories that I was weak in to try to get better,” he said.

Read more and watch a video about Sarma’s experience on last year’s show.

Story by Olivia Hultgren