Undergraduate Student Competes on Season 41 of Survivor
“How far would you go for a million dollars?”
Contestants on Survivor have asked themselves this question for 41 seasons, and Georgetown McDonough’s Liana Wallace (B’23) had the opportunity to navigate the physical and mental challenges of the show firsthand.
From the age of three years old, Wallace would watch the CBS reality show with her mother and older brothers, wondering if she would ever have the chance to ask herself the same question someday.
17 years later and a sophomore (at the time of the show) studying international business and finance, Wallace set out on her journey to compete with 17 other contestants – making it all the way to the final seven.
“My time at Georgetown prepared me for this challenge in a lot of ways. Having not only faculty, but classes that taught ethics, critical thinking, and navigating relationships played a huge role in my experience on the show,” said Wallace. “All of my decisions on that season were intentional and calculated and having had a few semesters at Georgetown under my belt helped me feel confident and prepared for that setting.”
The new season of the show was filmed in the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji from April 15 to May 10 of this year. During the competition, contestants are split into competing tribes and must navigate physical conditions, difficult team and individual challenges, elimination rounds and social maneuvering in order to win the grand prize of $1 million.
Wallace may not have come home with $1 million, but she came back with a new perspective.
“My college experiences and my time on the show were very interconnected. Being both on Survivor and a student showed me that I can do hard things – I can push myself and I can find my voice and the value in my voice in difficult situations,” said Wallace.
While Wallace’s individual physical and mental training were helpful during the game, her experiences as a Black woman at McDonough also informed her strategy. Wallace serves as the internal project manager for Innovo, a consulting club on campus, where she is working on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts, in addition to participating as a coordinator for Georgetown McDonough’s BUILD program, a pre-orientation for first-year and transfer students from all backgrounds.
“We’re faced with life-changing decisions both in the classroom and in real life,” said Wallace. “You’re going to face adversity and challenges – and not everything will turn out the way you thought, but it’s how you respond and grow from every situation.”