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Friday, March 24, 2023

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Ashtyn Mueller on the Wheel of Fortune set. (Photo: Carol Kaelson/Wheel of Fortune®/© 2022 Califon Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved) Ashtyn Mueller on the Wheel of Fortune set. (Photo: Carol Kaelson/Wheel of Fortune®/© 2022 Califon Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved)

Gam- Show F-atur-s SDSU Stud-nt

Ashtyn Mueller, a second-year English major, appears March 24 on ‘Wheel of Fortune' College Week.
By Leslie L.J. Reilly

She’ll sit at home glued to “Wheel of Fortune” with her family by her side on March 24, just as she has done throughout the pandemic. 

But this time, Ashtyn Mueller will appear on the TV screen, too, standing next to Pat Sajak, spinning the wheel, and asking for letters to solve word puzzles. 

Mueller, a second-year Single Subject Teaching Credential in English major, enjoys wordplay and the Wheel of Fortune show so much,  she decided to audition for a place on the show. She was selected and appears Thursday on the College Week show, seen locally at 7 p.m. on KNSD-TV.  

Ashtyn described her experience to NewsCenter, keeping secret the outcome of the game as all contestants agree to do.

How did you become interested in “Wheel of Fortune?”
I have always loved watching “Wheel of Fortune,” but I became especially interested during the COVID-19 pandemic, when my family looked forward to the show every weeknight since we had nothing else to do. We all played very competitively, and we started to get really good at solving puzzles quickly. I ended up sending in an application video to the show just for fun, but I honestly didn't think anything would come of my application. I feel very blessed that I was selected to audition and to be a contestant on the show. 

What was the most challenging part about being on the show?
The most challenging part about being on the show was the timing of the show's tape date. I filmed in L.A. during a week of intense midterm preparation and lost out on a lot of review that happened before my challenging midterms the next week. L.A. traffic was definitely a struggle too, ha, ha!
Are you planning a watch party with you, your family, and friends on Thursday
I am planning on watching the show when it airs at home with family and friends in Temecula, California. We'll be watching from the same TV and couch that we watched the show from every night during the pandemic, and I know it will be a very surreal experience to see myself on the show after watching it all of these years. 

How has the study of English helped you become a better contestant?
As an English major, I have always loved reading and writing. I think that my love for these forms of literature definitely played a part in exposing me to common words and phrases which sometimes pop up on the show. It was so special to be representing the English department in the College of Arts and Letters at SDSU on the show as well. 

How did you prepare for the show?
In preparation for the show, I reviewed the examples and categories provided for contestants from the official Wheel of Fortune crew, but other than that I didn't do much preparing. Instead, I took a lot of my worries and anxieties about being on TV to prayer, and had a lot of people at home praying for me. I think the comfort of knowing all of the support I had at home is what really made me confident in my appearance on the show. 

What was it like being on set with Pat Sajak and Vanna White?
Being on the set with Pat and Vanna was so cool! I was the lucky contestant that was randomly chosen to stand next to Pat on the Wheel (set) during the show, and it was so surreal talking to him both during the actual taping and in commercial breaks. When he said, "Ok Ashtyn, it's your turn to spin," I had a moment of serious disbelief that this was all actually happening to me — it was just so cool! And, Vanna was so sweet — during one of the tapings, the set was having some technical issues, so she grabbed a microphone and just talked to the audience about anything and everything. Vanna, Pat, and every other person on the Wheel of Fortune crew and cast was so kind and helpful throughout the entirety of the tape day.