The University Record, January 14, 2002

‘Jeopardy!’ wish comes true for aspiring star

By Martin May

Allyson Liberman is all smiles after winning on “Jeopardy!” (Photo courtesy of parents Julie Kovach and Richard Lieberman)
No stranger to the spotlight, Allyson Lieberman took center stage when she won $26,200 in a one-day competition on the game show “Jeopardy!” Twelve-year-old Lieberman says she will contribute a portion of the winnings to the Make-A-Wish foundation, which helps chronically ill children fulfill their dreams.

“I’ve seen so many children have their wishes [through Make-A-Wish] granted, and I thought that was awesome,” she said.

Lieberman, who is the daughter of Julie Kovach, clinical assistant professor in cardiology, and Richard Lieberman, clinical assistant professor of gynecology and pathology, hopes one day to be an actress. “I would love to act; it’s always been my dream,” says Lieberman.

A three-time contestant in the National Spelling Bee and recent star of the musical “Annie” performed at Greenhills School, where she is in eighth grade, Lieberman has no problem appearing before a large audience. When asked if she was nervous during the show, Lieberman said, “No, it was really about staying focused.”

She put her pressure skills to the test when she selected two daily double clues, bet $5,000 on each and won. In the ‘Final Jeopardy’ round, already far in the lead at $19,500, Lieberman bet $7,000. The Jeopardy answer came up: “This California structure painted ‘International Orange’ is one of the seven wonders of the world.”

Lieberman confidently wrote the correct phrase, “What is the Golden Gate Bridge?”

Coming up with the correct answers—or in “Jeopardy!”’s case, the correct questions—was only one part of Lieberman’s experience. For the taping of the show, broadcast Dec. 24, Lieberman and her parents flew to Los Angeles and were put up in the Beverly Hilton with other contestants of the “Jeopardy!” Holiday Kids Competition.

“‘Jeopardy’ really made the kids have a fantastic time,” says her father, Richard Lieberman. Allyson Lieberman and the other contestants took advantage of the Beverly Hilton’s heated pool. “They made sure we had fun,” she said.

The fun will continue as all contestants also won a trip for four to Hawaii.


Another health system “celebrity” made his debut on “Jeopardy!” last week. Dr. Michael Carbana, assistant professor, Pediatrics-Ambulatory Care Program, was featured on the program on Friday, Jan. 11.