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 "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek and contestant Larissa Kelly
"Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek and contestant Larissa Kelly

Grad student ends her 'Jeopardy' winning streak, but leaves behind a record

— History graduate student Larissa Kelly has made history — on prime-time TV — racking up $223,597 in winnings as a "Jeopardy!" contestant, more than any woman before her in the show's regular games. She was knocked out on the Wednesday, May 28 airing — after losing a big bet on a Daily Double.

Said one blogger, who followed her progress closely: "Congrats, thanks, and goodbye to Larissa Kelly! It sure was fun while it lasted.... She will undoubtedly be back for the Tournament of Champions."

A fourth-year Berkeley Ph.D. candidate specializing in 19th-century Mexican history, Kelly's foreign-language and pop-culture knowledge served her well during her week-long "Jeopardy!" career — with correct responses on such items as the lottery abbreviation "QP" ("What is 'Quick Pick'?") and the French for "one of these social blunders, from the French for 'false step'" ("What is faux pas?").

She also acquired strategic know-how through intimate familiarity with the game. Her sister, Arianna, appeared on "Jeopardy!" this January; her husband, Jeff Hoppes, a fellow UC Berkeley history grad student, competed in 2004. (Being "strong in both British and Latin American history," Cal was "a top choice" for the couple from the beginning, Kelly says.)