Engineering sophomore Sarah Boot is proof that everyone gets their 15 minutes of fame at one point in time.
Come the week of Feb. 12, Boot will make her television debut as a contestant on Hollywood Squares.
Boot said it was by chance that she auditioned for the show back in October.
“I needed to get up early anyway to study for a bio exam,” she said. “I decided to give it a shot.”
So Boot said she then went to the Michigan Union, where the tryouts were held, and auditioned.
The show”s producers chose Boot out of more than 350 University students who tried out.
Hollywood Squares wanted a contestant who “had the ability to stay focused on the game, was knowledgeable, somebody who would represent the school well and somebody who wanted to win,” said Paul Gendreau, publicist for the show.
After auditions, hopeful contestants were weeded out, and about half of them were asked to participate in a mock game show.
The mock game show didn”t come at the best of times for Boot.
“It was during finals week and I thought I was going to die,” she said.
Boot was notified in December that she had won a spot on the tournament.
She was then flown to Los Angeles, where she stayed for the long Martin Luther King Day weekend, when the tournament was filmed.
Once in Los Angeles, Boot joined students from the universities of Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh and Stanford, Ohio State and Purdue universities. The tournament features students from a total of 14 colleges.
The contestants were all given $105 spending money, which they used on trips to Santa Monica Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard. One of the highlights, she said, was meeting actor Pauly Shore.
Boot said the best part about her trip was meeting celebrities and students from other schools.
“I got to meet a lot of really cool people. Whoopi Goldberg was sick, which was disappointing,” she said. Goldberg, the executive producer of the game show, normally anchors the center square.
Celebrities included regulars Caroline Rhea from “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and Brad Garrett from “Everybody loves Raymond.”
Guests included actor Jason Alexander from “Seinfeld,” actor Martin Short, actress Kathy Griffen from “Suddenly Susan,” Martin Mull of “Roseanne,” singer Vitamin C and Kermit the Frog.
Although Boot is not allowed to say whether she won, she did reveal her playing strategy.
“I watched the show every single night. The questions are all just chance, but there is a definite strategy to winning,” Boot said.
She said that in order to win, it”s important to know a wrong answer could lead to a loss because the other contestant would get the square.
The tournament will air from Feb. 12-23. The college tournament airs once a year, but show officials could not say whether Hollywood Squares will be visiting the University of Michigan campus again.
“We don”t plan that far ahead,” Gendreau said.