Posted May 5, 2009

Psych major spins big

Junior Drew Magathan claims more than $110,000 on "Wheel of Fortune" college edition

  • Photo courtesy "Wheel of Fortune"Magathan (left) with his fellow contestants on “Wheel of Fortune.”
  • Photo courtesy Carol KaelsonJunior psychology major Drew Magathan celebrates his big win on “Wheel of Fortune.”

After solving Wheel of Fortune puzzles such as “The Nutty Professor,” “Microwave Popcorn,” and “Fond Memories,” Temple student Drew Magathan arrived home from the show’s college edition more than $110,000 richer.

Solving word puzzles has always come naturally to the junior psychology major. When he played Wheel with friends at home — as he did most every night — he always walked away victorious. He once even accumulated a whopping $18 million in virtual money playing a computerized version of the popular game show on his PC.

With all that experience, Magathan coasted through the show’s try outs and the written exam given to Wheel hopefuls at a New York City audition last summer. But then he was told to go home and wait.

“They told me that if I was selected, I would receive a letter within two weeks,” he said.

Sure enough, two weeks later — “the longest two weeks of my life,” said Magathan — the letter arrived.

“I was so surprised and excited that I told the first person I saw — the door person in my building,” Magathan said.

The letter informed Magathan that he would have a chance to appear on the show, but that he might have to wait up to 18 months before making his appearance.

Fortunately, the call came sooner — in February, as Magathan was sitting in class. “I answered it right away and shared the news with everyone right there in the classroom. They were happy for me,” he said.

The Langhorne native traveled with family members to Los Angeles for the taping of Wheel of Fortune’s College Week.

“I prayed in the bathroom before the show and thought, ‘there is nothing I can do now but have some fun,’” said Magathan.

That down-to-earth attitude paid off. Despite trailing for most of the game, Magathan persevered and ultimately solved the show’s bonus round puzzle with an effortless response: “Microwave Popcorn.”

“When the letters came up on the puzzle board, I knew I had the answer,” said Magathan.

Magathan lept for joy. But now his feet are again planted firmly on the ground. True to his pragmatic nature, Magathan plans to use his winnings primarily to support his studies in graduate school.