The answer first: “This Georgia resident is as familiar with the set of ‘Jeopardy!’ as he is with the layout of the Starship Enterprise (though he’s seen only one of them in real life).”
The correct question: “Who is incoming freshman Brandon Welch?”
Welch, who enters Northeastern this fall, made his way into the ranks of “Jeopardy!” contestants thanks to the encouragement of his high-school peers. “In my junior year, my AP U.S. history class kept suggesting that, given my extensive knowledge of history, I should audition for ‘Jeopardy!’” he said. “Never thinking I would score well enough to audition, I took the test on a whim.”
No one who knows Welch was surprised when he was selected for a live audition, then as a contestant on the quiz show’s annual Teen Tournament. Since sixth grade, he’s been an active competitor on the Academic Quiz Bowl circuit, filling his mind with details both significant (like American and world history) and arcane (that’s where the USS Enterprise comes in).
In his senior year, Welch traveled to Los Angeles for the “Jeopardy!” taping, and advanced through the Teen Tournament quarterfinals, losing only when a tricky Final Jeopardy question got the better of him.
This fall, Welch will be on the opposite side of the country—Boston—facing tough classroom inquiries from Northeastern professors, whose questioning likely won’t be accompanied by fancy Hollywood lighting or world-famous theme songs. He plans to study history, the field that set him on the path to “Jeopardy!” in the first place.
“Choosing Northeastern was not difficult—the university’s academic rigor, acclaimed co-op program, ideal location and vibrant student population were all weighted heavily in my decision,” Welch said.
He hopes to become involved in the United Nations Association and the Resident Student Association as an undergraduate, then plans to attend law school after completing his bachelor’s degree.
Welch’s family is almost as diverse as his knowledge of trivia. Born in Massachusetts to a family of Irish, Indian and Jamaican descent, he moved five times in three years before settling in Grayson, Ga.
“My grandmother was Indian and made roti when my mother was a child, and my great-grandmother was a copper-haired Irish woman,” explained Welch, who said the varied background of his family has made him naturally curious about the world.
– by Matt Collette