A UA Little Rock student won $4,500 after fulfilling her childhood dream of competing on “Wheel of Fortune.”
Alyssa Fawbush, a senior double majoring in psychology and nursing, appeared during iconic College Week, which brings together college students from across the country to participate in a week of episodes honoring higher education.
The Sherwood native watched the show air on Thanksgiving night at a watch party in her grandmother’s home in Sherwood where she was surrounded by her family, friends, and fiancé.
“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “I never thought I would end up being on the show. I remember my grandma always talked about Vanna White’s dresses. Whenever Vanna would walk back and forth on stage, I remember thinking that she had flowers on her dress and that my grandma would love that. I don’t remember every detail about the game, but I do remember what Vanna’s dress looked like.”
Fawbush came in second place and took home a total of $4,500 after solving two puzzles. She hit some tough competition in the form of fellow contestant Noah Stockwell, a student at the University of Pittsburgh who competed in the final round.
“I did the best I could given my circumstances,” she said. “Noah was a sweetheart and a very hard player. I had some really bad luck because I hit bankrupt twice, and that didn’t happen to anyone else. It was about my gameplay, and I did well with what I was able to do.”
Fawbush received an overwhelming amount of support from a community of people who shared in the excitement of her game show appearance.
“All of my friends and family were super excited,” she said. “My entire high school knew about ‘Wheel of Fortune’ and said they were going to watch. After my episode aired, I got so many messages from people. When I went Black Friday shopping the next day, I got so many weird looks. I was wearing my college sweatshirt, and people would come up to me and tell me they saw me on TV last night.”
Fawbush filmed the episode in August during the first week of classes at UA Little Rock. On the way home from Los Angeles, Fawbush and her family made a stop in Las Vegas, where her boyfriend, Layne Sikes, a 2020 graduate of UA Little Rock, proposed at Bellagio Hotel and Casino.
She will graduate from UA Little Rock in December 2023. Afterwards, she plans to complete her master’s degree and work as a psychiatric nurse practitioner.
Fawbush is encouraging other students who dream of being on “Wheel of Fortune” to submit their applications soon for consideration to be on the next College Week, which will air in March 2023.
“They are actually looking for contestants to compete in College Week Spring Break,” Fawbush said. “What they look for is people that are going to have fun, be a good sport, and make an experience out of it.”