Kent State alumni experiences Survivor

Amanda Crumm

Jill Behm, a 1989 Kent State graduate, got the chance to pursue her dream of being on the television show Survivor this season in Nicaragua, but after a tribe swap, she became the eighth person voted off the show.

Behm, an emergency room doctor in Erie, Pa., came to Kent State in 1985 after being recruited to be a javelin thrower. She was a four letter varsity player and won the Mid-American Championship in javelin throwing her senior year. After graduating from Kent State with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Behm took a year off before attending Ohio University for medical school.

Behm said joining Survivor appealed to her because of her background as an athlete and an analytical thinker.

“I thought it was kind of a nice marriage of both, and when I first started watching the show I thought it was really interesting, so I thought that I would be very good at it,” she said.

Behm said she was most proud of herself for being able to compete in the challenges against the younger cast members.

But her luck changed when the teams were forced to swap tribes, mixing the old with the young players. Behm said the young players had built alliances with each other and as she would soon see, they wanted the older and stronger players out.

During her time on the show, Behm earned the immunity idol clue.

“In the past, sometimes when people had immunity idols it puts the target on them,” she said. So Behm chose to give the idol clue to fellow castaway Marty.

“I kind of didn’t want the target on my back, and I had complete trust in Marty that he’d use it for the good of furthering our alliance.

“But you know, with the tribe swap, we were unable to recover from that,” she said. “So that mistake ended up costing me at least one spot in the game, possibly more.”

Behm said the most challenging part of the experience was the lack of food. Behm said the main sources of food were the occasional catfish, crabs and coconut. The cast also attempted to eat snails until they began to get sick.

“We were only taking in about 200-250 calories per day, and it was exceedingly difficult,” she said. “I ended up losing 20 pounds in 18 days.”

Behm said the days she was able to eat even a two-inch piece of coconut were “like heaven.”

“There just wasn’t a lot of food to be found out there,” she said. “It was just a rough, rough country.”

Behm said one of the greatest outcomes from the show was her increased appreciation of the luxuries at home.

“That’s my benefit: that I can appreciate even the smallest, smallest things in life, and I hope I never lose that appreciation,” she said.

Contact Amanda Crumm at [email protected].