UVU alumnus Shannon Young won $16,000 playing “Who wants to be a Millionaire,” which aired Wednesday April 8 on NBC.
Young, a 2008 graduate and valedictorian of the Integrated Studies program, will be using the money to start graduate school at BYU in the fall where she will be studying social work.

Young said her decision to be on the program was a fluke. “I caught the end of a show and it said if you want to be on “Millionaire” log on to their website, so I did.”

She had forgotten about it until a few months later when she received an e-mail that asked her to be in New York a few days after that to take a test to be a contestant for the show. Shannon and her husband flew out only a few days after that to take the test.

“About 30,000 people try out each year to be on the show,” she said. “From that group of people, 45 are chosen to take a ten-minute timed test. Only eight people from my group passed the written test and two went on to get video taped.”

One month after her test, she received a postcard in the mail and then a phone call asking her to be in New York to be on the game show.

Young said the hardest part was that they had changed the rules of the game between the time she tried out and the time she taped the show to only allow the contestants to have fifteen seconds to answer each question.

“If I would have known that I was going to be timed, I really don’t know if I would have tried out,” she said.

Another difficult obstacle was the fact that she had won $16,000 and could not talk about it with her five children or ten grandchildren for the six-month period between the show taping and airing. However, she was able to discuss the episode with her husband who accompanied her to New York and was an audience member at the taping.

Young is no stranger to game shows, prior to her appearance on “Millionaire,” she was also a contestant on “Password” and “$25,000 Pyramid” during the late seventies and early eighties.