Warren Wilson college professor will compete on Jeopardy!

Shelby Harris Ezra Maille
Black Mountain News
Warren Wilson College professor of botany Alisa Hove will compete on Jeopardy!

Who is Alisa Hove?

Hove, professor of botany and chair of Warren Wilson College's biology department, will be one of 15 instructors from colleges and universities across the country to compete in the first-ever "Jeopardy! Professors Tournament" next month.

The tournament will run from Dec. 6-17. Hove's appearance on the show was recorded this fall. Her episode is set to air Dec. 10, according to the Swannanoa college's press release. 

“I’ve loved 'Jeopardy!' since watching it with my family almost every night as a kid,” Hove said. “So having the opportunity to stand on that stage, see the questions in person and participate with such a talented group of professors was a kind of a dream come true.”

The winning professor will take away $100,000 and secure a spot in the competition’s Tournament of Champions. 

Warren Wilson plans to hold a viewing party in Kittredge Theatre at 7 p.m. Dec. 10. The viewing will be open to faculty, staff and students. 

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Applying on a whim, Hove said she got called back by the game show, participating in mock games via Zoom before being officially selected. Hove said she studied for the tournament by reading books, taking practice quizzes and watching "Jeopardy!" with a pen in hand, clicking the top to increase her reaction time.

"I really wanted to study geography," Hove said. "I spent a lot of time trying to think of things like bodies of water from around the world and capitals of various nations." 

Hove is the only professor from a North Carolina school to compete. Other contestants include professors from Vanderbilt Law School, Howard University and the University of Colorado at Boulder. 

Warren Wilson College professor of botany Alisa Hove will compete on Jeopardy!

The tournament is hosted by actress Mayim Bialik, who has starred in “The Big Bang Theory,” “Blossom” and “Call Me Kat.” 

“It was an unbelievable thrill to see so many brilliant professors from all kinds of schools and backgrounds come together on the 'Jeopardy!' stage,” Bialik said. “There was a sense of kinship and academic camaraderie among the group, along with a healthy dose of competitiveness. That energy made this inaugural 'Professors Tournament' incredibly special.”

Hove said she enjoyed the experience, getting to interact with other professors from around the country and discussing the challenges of teaching during a pandemic. 

"At this time in our society, it's really exciting that there's a show that really celebrates learning and knowledge and the application of a whole variety of different subjects," Hove said. "It's been a real privilege to be a part of that."