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Jamal Shipman
Age: 33
Hometown: Jersey City, New Jersey
Current residence: Providence, Rhode Island
Occupation: Admissions Counselor K-12

Hobbies: Coaching basketball, taking West African and salsa dance lessons, teaching myself the bass guitar, and losing in fantasy football leagues.

Pet peeves: I hate bugs that insist on leaving behind itchy, painful bumps. I don't mind sharing my blood with you, but why the discomfort? Why the ache? It's pretty rude if you ask me.

Three words to describe you: Balanced, inquisitive, and present.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
My educational path is something I'm most proud of. After 8 years at P.S. 27, a Jersey City public school where my mom is still a teacher, I was accepted to the Prep for Prep program in New York. That experience prepared me for high school at Milton Academy, a New England prep school, which opened the door for me to attend and graduate from Brown University, an Ivy League school in Providence, R.I. With some bumps along the way and lots of help from those who care about me, I was able to make it through and be where I am today.

Who or what is your inspiration in life?
Barack Obama. I wasn't all that politically aware prior to his run for president. He spoke to me. He inspired me to get involved and care about our world in a more engaged way. I've read his books, watched his speeches, and followed his presidency. The thoughtfulness, grace, optimism, and commitment he showed is absolutely uplifting. If we can approach life with his same attitude and aspire towards excellence the way he does, we'd all be better off.

What's one thing we wouldn't know from seeing a photo of you?
You wouldn't know that while I was a tri-varsity athlete by my junior year in high school, I was also in the school a cappella group, played the trumpet in the orchestra, and played a role in the spring play! You can't judge a book by its cover.

Which Survivor contestant are you most like?
I most relate to Jeremy. I think he played the game the second time similarly to how I would want to play it. Wendell, Officer Sarah, and Christian are all players I relate to, as well.

Why do you think you'll "survive" Survivor?
I've been intensely studying this game. I feel like I have a good handle on what to do in order to give myself the best shot at making it to the end with enough good will to get votes. People will be happy to write my name at the end.