Sep 152008
Authors: Rachel Survil

Uncle’s Pizzeria on South College Avenue was full of shouting veterinary medicine majors Friday afternoon as one of their own was featured on ABC’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”

Meredith Early, a second-year veterinary student, was able to join her peers at the restaurant after the show’s taping and was the primary focus of the night.

“You almost couldn’t hear [the show]; everybody was so loud,” Early said.

Early said she enjoyed the support of the 20 or so people who gathered to watch the show with some pizza after hearing about her experience in class.

“I was worried I’d be embarrassed, but the way my classmates are, it was really just fun,” she said of the viewing festivities.

Early won $16,000 in last Friday’s episode.

On Monday, she was stumped by a question about the location of the Matterhorn, a mountain located between Switzerland and Italy. She decided to walk away with the $16,000 rather than guess incorrectly and leave with a mere $1,000.

To her, though, the most valuable aspect wasn’t the money — it was the experience. She spent four days in New York City with her two sisters, visiting attractions such as Union Square, Times Square and the Twin Towers Memorial.

“We’d always talked about going on a big trip when my little sister was 21, but we never got to — so this was it,” Early said.

Early was prompted to go on the game show by her two children, who watch it religiously.

“They were constantly nagging, and it kept progressing,” Early said. “They were both very encouraging.”

She said her 9-year-old son Justin’s top question was: “If you win, can I have a [Nintendo] Wii?” Her daughter Emily, 5, wanted a Nintendo DS.

When Early receives money from the show next month, the children will be receiving their respective video game consoles, she said.

Early said she doesn’t have extravagant plans for the rest of the money. She said she intends to use it for daily expenses.

“The money will be a buffer for awhile. I’m a vet student — I live on loans,” she said. “I’m not sure if it will get me through the next three semesters, but I’ll be happy if it gets me through the next three months.”

Staff writer Rachel Survil can be reached at

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