The former software engineering managerof Oakland, California, won the $250,000 grand prize on Monday after winning three games against her opponents.
“I feel great,” said Schneider, 42, after her win, according to a press release obtained by PEOPLE. “Earlier in the final I had the sudden moment where I saw myself and thought ‘I’m on the podium in the Tournament of Champions final’ and that was crazy. And I won! It’s a great feeling.”
Despite finding no Daily Doubles in her final game, Schneider held onto the lead before betting $13,000 on the final clue for a total score of $28,600 – winning the game and the entire tournament.
Schneider competed against software developer Andrew He and associate professor of operations research Sam Buttrey in six Tournament of Champions games.
Schneider and He previously faced off on Season 38 of Danger! At that point, which was their first time competing against each other, Schneider ended He’s five match winning streak.
“I wanted both [compete against He] and was afraid to face him again,” Schneider said in a statement. “I knew he was one of the best competitors in the field. He was definitely someone I knew he could beat me because he almost did before, and he did it a few times here as well.”
“Anyone 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 fair chance to test our skills against each other, and I’d love to play him again one way or another.”
Schneider became the most successful female contestant in Danger! history with one record-breaking 40-game winning streakwhich ended on January 26. She holds the No. 2 spot on the all-time consecutive wins list Ken Jennings who has a total of 74 victories.
Schneider also made history as the first transgender participant to qualify for the Tournament of Champions.
“I’m going to keep going out and being myselfshe said, according to the press release. “Being in places 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 compete on the show after auditioning to become a contestant for over a decade.
“I think part of the reason I ended up being selected was that I had transitioned and my real identity was alive,” Schneider explains. “Looking back, I realized that I was hiding so much of myself. Before that, I was a very closed person.”
Almost immediately after her first episode aired, messages from the LGBTQ+ community started pouring in. “Someone said their grandfather was the first to use proper pronouns for a trans person,” she said. “That made me realize that I was making people’s lives better.”
After winning nearly $1.4 million in prize money on the show – the fourth highest in game history – Schneider said the experience of competing was just as valuable.
“I’m so glad I didn’t present an idealized version of myself. If I had, it would have set a standard like, Oh, well, yeah, everyone loves Amy because she’s… whatever, ” she said. “It feels really good to say, ‘No, that was just me.'”
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Danger! broadcast weeknights (check local listings).