The excitement is so real because I’m officially going to watch MISS AMERICA in September!!!!

Since I started participating in the Miss America Organization in 2012, I have been continually asked, “Do you believe this competition still has a place in our society?” I could simply say yes based on my experiences, but my preparation for the interview phase of the pageant along with my studies in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College have taught me to dig deeper than my own background and thoughts to see the full scope of a situation in order to form educated opinions on controversial topics, and I believe the voices of a broad spectrum of stakeholders in the organization paired with factual data is needed to make a compelling case on the relevancy of the MAO.

A year and a half ago, a presentation I heard at the PULSE Leadership Conference at Ole Miss on the upcoming plans for Miss America from the MAO leadership of the time unknowingly planted the seed for an interest in reflecting on the growth, changes and developments of the past nearly 100 years of the competition while looking ahead to what the next 100 will potentially hold. Little did I know that Miss America 2.0 was right around the corner.

In the midst of drastic changes in the organization and with the centennial anniversary quickly approaching, my Honors College Thesis will be evaluating the sustainability of the Miss America Organization by examining its evolution over time through financial, marketing and journalism lenses- my three areas of study.

I’m thrilled to be traveling to Atlantic City this September for the Miss America Competition to conduct research for my project! I am looking for titleholders, volunteers, longtime supporters, and leaders in the organization interested in sharing their experiences to help me dig all the way back to MAO’s inception in 1921. I would love to meet with those interested while in Atlantic City or talk another time this year via call or FaceTime! Feel free to send me a message about anyone that is willing to help!

I will be defending this thesis at the end of the school year, and I cannot wait to share my findings so that everyone involved or interested in this organization has a well-research and easily-accessible resource to make an educated decision on their thoughts about the future of this competition! Be sure to keep up with my year of research on my social media accounts with these hashtags: #MissAmericaAdvances #ThereSheEvolves and #MissAMakeovers!