University of Houston (UH) College of Education graduate student Minal Shah recently tested her knowledge on ABC’s “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.” Shah made it to the $250,000 question, but decided not to take a guess and walked away with an impressive $67,600 on the Dec. 4 episode hosted by Meredith Vieira.
“You are up on stage, and it’s so strange,” said Shah of the taping experience. “When you see the question, you see it in bits. You think you are pretty sure of the answer, and the producers try to tell you not to over-think or second-guess yourself. It’s hard. Before you go on stage, they put you in a room with previous episodes airing, and you see people lose so quickly.”
Shah, a former middle school math teacher, will graduate from UH with a master’s degree in education this spring. She says she hopes to use some of her winnings to take an overseas vacation before she goes back to teaching in the fall. Ironically, Shah said it was a math question that made her the most nervous.
“I got a math question and I was positive I would get it wrong. While waiting backstage I saw people miss some of the simplest questions. I did not want that to happen to me. How would I show my face in the classroom again if I missed a math question?” Shah said jokingly. “I took about 10 minutes to think about it before I answered.”
She got the math question right. When it came to the $250,000 question, the audience also got it right—unbeknownst to Shah, who had extended her “ask the audience” lifeline. With the audience split between the four answers— with only 37 percent emerging as the majority answer— it was not enough to convince Shah to risk the more than $67,000 of winnings she’d already banked.
”$250,000 would have been nice,” said Shah. “But, I wasn’t mad. I have the worst luck, so I was really pleased with how it turned out.”
Shah applied to be a contestant on the show at the encouragement of a friend during a casting call in Houston last summer. She never dreamed she would be picked and while she didn’t come home a millionaire, Shah looks back at the opportunity with great memories—including running into Whoopi Goldberg on two occasions.
“The contestant before me lost on the first question, so you are super nervous,” said Shah. “It was a really cool experience. Even if I hadn’t won anything, I would have been pretty excited.”
Would you have guessed the $250,000 question correctly?
Question: A grunt often uttered by Homer Simpson, “Doh” is also the name given to what cosmic object?
A: A comet in Andromeda
B: A star in Orion
C: One of Saturn's rings
D: A crater on a moon of Jupiter