Hofstra professor Lisa Dresner competes in 'Professors Tournament' on 'Jeopardy!'

ByKatherine Lavacca WABC logo
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Hofstra professor competes in 'Professors Tournament' on 'Jeopardy!'
Lauren Glassberg has more on the Hofstra professor competing on 'Jeopardy!'

HEMPSTEAD, Nassau County (WABC) -- A professor on Long Island has waited decades to compete on the trivia game show "Jeopardy!", and she finally gets her chance Wednesday night.

Lisa Dresner, a faculty member at Hofstra University, will compete in the first "Professors Tournament" on "Jeopardy!" after auditioning since the late '90s.

"Getting on 'Jeopardy!' has been kind of a lifelong dream and project of mine," Dresner said. "In the '90s, I got a chance to try out. In those days, you generally had to go to the studio to audition. I didn't do very well."

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Dresner was born and raised in Princeton, New Jersey, and began teaching at Hofstra in 2004. She is now an associate professor of writing studies and rhetoric and the director of the LGBTQ+ studies program at the university.

She auditioned again in the early 2000s, and in 2010, she made it to the contestant pool but didn't get selected.

The writing professor said she prepared for this year's audition not just by brushing up on her trivia, but by showcasing her personality.

"During the pandemic, they had an anytime audition at Jeopardy.com where you could just take the test," Dresner said. "And then if you did well, you could have a Zoom audition, and that's what finally worked for me."

While she can't say too much about the outcome of her time on the quiz show, she did say being on set with other professors from across the country was "a blast."

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"I think they selected people not only being people who knew about a lot of various subjects, but also for being really fun," Dresner said. "It was a great group of people. We were laughing and cheering each other on. I felt very supported by my fellow contestants throughout the whole process."

Dresner said she would use her previous auditions as a teaching point for her students, who would get frustrated about not doing well on test.

"You know, a lot of students get very upset if they get a question wrong on a test or they missed something in class, and my feeling about that is you always remember the thing you got wrong better than the thing you got right," Dresner said. "I certainly remember the some of the questions I got wrong on my previous auditions. So it was kind of fun now to have been on Jeopardy to say, 'See, even if you get something wrong, you still may get where you want to go.'"

Dresner will compete along side Ashleigh Lawrence-Sanders, an assistant professor of U.S. and African American history at the University of Colorado-Boulder, and Sam Buttrey, an associate professor of Operations Research at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

The winner of the two-week long "Professors Tournament" will take home a $100,000 prize and a chance to compete in the Tournament of Champions.

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