Opinion: I'm Matt Amodio. How I win at 'Jeopardy!' and why I love CT

Matt Amodio, a PhD student from Yale University, competes on "Jeopardy"

Matt Amodio, a PhD student from Yale University, competes on “Jeopardy”

Carol Kaelson /Jeopardy Productions Inc.

What’s Matt Amodio”? Hi! I’m a Ph.D. student at Yale in computer science, currently living out my dream on “Jeopardy!” I’ve followed “Jeopardy!” since before I can remember, with my parents watching the show every day and me in the background.

Trivia has always mattered to me, because in a broader sense knowledge matters to me. I had instilled in me a love of learning from my parents, and I have carried that with me everywhere I go. I get a lot of joy out of learning things, any things, about the world. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go on a show that values that quality and rewards it.

It’s been fun sharing that love of knowledge with people I’ve met along the way — for example, having the pleasure of getting to meet Connecticut’s Gov. Ned Lamont a few weeks ago. He is extremely nice and energetic, and I was pleasantly surprised that he was so knowledgeable about history, which we talked a lot about. He told me Connecticut is rooting for me, which means a lot to me.

I’m proud to represent Connecticut! I’ve had such a great time at Yale, and I love New Haven. It’s such a lively place with a lot of interesting stuff going on at all times, and the friends I’ve made here are great. Oh, and the pizza is pretty darn good, too. (I know it’s always a hot topic, but I’ll take Pepe’s any time!)

I’ve always been a trivia enthusiast, and so the way I acquire knowledge is by reading a lot and doing so with the idea of “How can this become a trivia question?” in the back of my head at all times. I read Wikipedia articles for entertainment, starting from one article and then linking to a bunch of interesting topics I see in that article, which leads me to a bunch of others, and so on until I realize it’s time to go to bed. My favorite topics are generally things such as history, politics and geography, so I knew to succeed at the show I’d have to strengthen a weaker area of mine: pop culture!

I have spent time watching newer TV and movies and listening to newer music. It’s been easy to convince myself that this is actually productive, not a waste of my time, because it’s all focused on improving myself for the show! I’ve also been pleasantly surprised that I genuinely like some of the things I’ve exposed myself to, which is a great lesson in expanding one’s horizons and being open to new things.

Overall, this experience has been the thrill of a lifetime. I’ll never get used to the fact that I’m on TV or my name is in the paper or that strangers know who I am. I’m a pretty introverted person. That hasn’t prevented me from thoroughly enjoying the whole experience, though! I’ve been treated so kindly and warmly, it’s brought a sense of community, and I’ve been touched by how my community has supported me.

Matt Amodio is among the all-time leaders in consecutive games won on “Jeopardy!”