Alum competes on ‘Survivor’

GW alumna Caryn Groedel took a break from her job as a lawyer to spend some time on an island in the South Pacific, but she wasn’t on vacation. Groedel was a contestant on the latest round of the CBS reality series “Survivor.”

Groedel, who holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from GW, is competing for a million dollars on the show. CBS does not allow her to speak with the press until she is voted off the show or wins in broadcast time, CBS spokeswoman Kim Sartori said. Groedel would not comment when reached at her Ohio home last week.

Season 10 of the “Survivor” series, which premiered last Thursday night, is being filmed in Palau, an island in the South Pacific. Contestants on the show compete in a series of challenges within their teams, or tribes, and confront the everyday struggles of surviving on an island for 39 days. Contestants vote fellow castaways off each episode and the last person on the island wins the million-dollar prize.

The past two seasons of “Survivor” included 18 contestants, and while all other previous seasons featured 16 castaways, “Survivor: Palau” began with a record number of 20 contestants. There are only 17 remaining after the first episode. Groedel is still among the contestants after two shows.

Groedel, 46, is one of the oldest contestants on “Survivor.” She is only one of four contestants who are over the age of 40. After receiving her law degree from George Mason University, she practiced insurance and real estate law. She now owns her own law practice and is a civil rights and employment attorney in Solon, Ohio, according to the show’s Web Site.

Other contestants on the show include a Las Vegas showgirl, a dolphin trainer and a New York City fireman.

“Caryn really stands out,” freshman Emily Broyles said. “She is more mature and I think that will work in her favor.”

Boyles is one of 19 students in the “CBS Survivor Fans” group on, an online networking system. The group is comprised of students who regularly watch the reality show. Senior Jai Patel and junior Sean Holiday started the group and plan to organize a season finale party for fans.

Members of the GW community are not unfamiliar with the challenges of reality television. Donald Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice” held a casting call at the Alumni House on Feb. 10. In the past year, two people with GW ties – a graduate and current student – have appeared on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

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