Amy Schneider has proclaimed victory in Jeopardy!‘s Tournament of Champions!
The former software engineering manager, from Oakland, Calif., won the $250,000 grand prize on Monday after winning three games against her opponents.
“I feel amazing,” Schneider, 42, said after her win, according to a press release obtained by PEOPLE. “Earlier in the finals, I had this sudden moment of seeing myself and being like, ‘I’m on stage in the Tournament of Champions finals,’ and that was crazy. And I won! It’s a great feeling.”
Despite not finding any Daily Doubles in her last game, Schneider held the lead before wagering $13,000 on the final clue for a total score of $28,600 — winning the game and entire tournament.
Schneider competed in six Tournament of Champions games against software developer Andrew He and associate professor of operations research Sam Buttrey.
Schneider and He previously faced off in season 38 of Jeopardy! At the time, which marked their first time competing against each other, Schneider ended He’s five-game winning streak.
“I both wanted to [compete against He] and was afraid of facing him again,” Schneider said in a statement. “I knew he was one of the top competitors in the field. He was definitely someone that I knew could beat me because he very nearly did before, and he did a couple of times here as well.”
“Any of the three of us really could have won if a very small number of things had gone differently,” she continued. “I’m glad we got a really fair chance to test our skills against each other, and I’d love to play him again someday, somehow.”
Schneider became the most successful female contestant in Jeopardy! history with a record-breaking 40-game winning streak, which came to an end on Jan. 26. She holds the No. 2 spot on the all-time consecutive wins list behind Ken Jennings who has a total of 74 wins.
Schneider also made history as the first transgender contestant to qualify for the Tournament of Champions.
“I’m going to keep going out there and being me,” she said, per the press release. “Being in places where people like me haven’t been before, it’s a very powerful thing to do.”
In March, Schneider spoke to PEOPLE as one of PEOPLE’s Women Changing the World about competing on the show after auditioning for more than a decade to be a contestant.
“I do think part of the reason I finally did get selected was that I had transitioned, and I was living my real identity,” Schneider explained. “Looking back, I realized that I was hiding so much of myself. I was a very closed-off person before that.”
Almost immediately after her first episode aired, messages from the LGBTQ+ community began pouring in. “Somebody said their grandfather was using the right pronouns for a trans person for the first time ever,” she said. “That made me realize I was making people’s lives better.”
After winning nearly $1.4 million in prize money on the show — the fourth-highest in competition history — Schneider said the experience of competing was every bit as valuable.
“I’m so glad I didn’t present an idealized version of myself. If I had, it would’ve set a standard like, Oh, well, yeah, everybody likes Amy because she’s … whatever,” she said. “It feels really good to say, ‘No, that was just me.'”