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College Alumna Gwen Lockman (C’16) to Compete on Jeopardy

Gwen Lockman (C’16) is the latest Hoya to compete on the Alex Trebek Stage as a Jeopardy! contestant. 

Lockman, who grew up watching Jeopardy! with her family, has always had a knack for trivia and considers herself a generalist. Her speciality, if she has one, may be pop culture. 

“I’d watch Turner Classic Movies with my mom, TV reruns and sports with my dad, game shows like the Price is Right with my grandfather and musicals with my grandmother,” Lockman said. “My mom liked 80s music, my dad liked classic rock, my older brothers liked modern rock, my grandfather liked country and my grandmother liked anything you could dance to.”

To prepare for the show Lockman continued with the daily habits that have prepared her for trivia’s most hallowed show. 

“I watched the show, like I always have, did my daily crossword puzzles – I do the New York Times crossword 7 days a week and the Los Angeles Times Sunday puzzle because it’s what my hometown paper prints on the weekend – and kept up on the news,” Lockman recapped. “I did review some geography that I wouldn’t normally think about every day and did a lot of practice trivia from the J! Archive. But I figured I’d gotten on the show by doing what I was doing, so I didn’t want to overthink it.”

A Lifelong Learner

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An American studies major, Lockman came to Jeopardy! equipped with a deep knowledge of American history and esoterica.

“I’ve known Gwen since the early days of her sophomore year when she was just embarking on the American studies major,” said Erika Seamon, teaching professor and former director of the American Studies Program. “I’ve always been inspired by her intellectual curiosity and research tenacity. It was a thrill to see Gwen present last month on her doctoral research at Dumbarton Oaks, where she is currently a Fellow. I wasn’t surprised at all to hear Jeopardy invited her to play!”

For her undergraduate thesis, Lockman explored labor and race relations in Major League Baseball.

“Gwen wrote one of the best undergrad theses I have ever read,” said Michael Kazin, Lockman’s thesis advisor and a renowned historian. “Her understanding of the history of the 1960s in the U.S. matched her deep knowledge and love of baseball.”

Lockman focused on the Flood v. Kuhn Supreme Court case that reaffirmed professional baseball’s antitrust exemption. 

“I focused on the cultural changes that preceded free agency in the 1960s,” said Lockman. “I used the Flood case, Curt Flood’s memoir and Jim Bouton’s hugely successful book Ball Four to show how the landscape changed when players had union support and spoke publicly about pay, working conditions, race, the media, ownership and trying to make it all work,” explained Lockman. 

After graduating, Lockman worked in the legal department for the Washington Nationals Baseball Club before earning her M.A. in history at The University of Texas at Austin, where she is currently working on her Ph.D. 

Lockman’s dissertation examines the history of parks and mining in Butte, Montana, beginning with the city’s municipal incorporation in 1879 and ending with its cleanup as a Superfund site by the EPA. Listed in 1982 and finalized by an amendment in 2020, 26 miles of stream and streamside habitat around Butte that was polluted by mining activities is now undergoing a long-term environmental remediation process.  

“Butte was one of the most important copper mining areas in the world and, around World War I, had a diverse population of about 100,000 people,” Lockman explained. “I argue that, time and again, businesses, local officials and residents have leveraged parks as tools for social, economic and environmental reclamation, or to ‘save’ the city.” 

In her dissertation, Lockman explores how the functionalities of parks have changed over time, both as public and private spaces with different expectations of behavior and decorum. 

“There was a lot of buzz around the final decision in 2020, but I don’t think folks realize the park in that government proposal was first imagined in the 1930s,” said Lockman. “It’s not that parks have always served the same purpose, but that it can take a long time to implement a vision of urban development, especially when contending with a strong community identity and a destructive primary industry.”

Lockman will appear on Jeopardy! this Wednesday, March 15, joining the ranks of Hoyas Caleb Richmond (SFS’25) and Patrick Curran (C’14, G’19) who have appeared on the show this year.

-by Hayden Frye (C’17)

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