By Allison Matthews
Four of the Top Five Miss Mississippi contestants this year are affiliated with MSU.
Mississippi State students gave a strong representation for the university during the 2014 Miss Mississippi Pageant in Vicksburg July 12.
Jasmine Murray, a sophomore communication/broadcasting major from Starkville, took the crown and will represent the Magnolia State September 14 at the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Murray, who competed as Miss Riverland, reached the Top 10 in 2013 as Miss MSU.
This year’s Miss MSU, Laura Lee Lewis, earned first alternate. Lewis is a junior elementary education major from Brookhaven.
“Laura Lee was a very strong competitor and showed a lot of grace and integrity the entire week,” said Amelia Treptow, MSU assistant director for student activities. “We could not be prouder of her and the way that she has represented this great university. We also want to wish Jasmine Murray the best of luck at Miss America in September.”
Second alternate in the competition was Randi-Kathryn Harmon, an MSU senior communication/public relations major from Amory who competed as Miss Historic South. Fourth alternate Jessica Terrill is a 2013 magna cum laude graduate of MSU with a major in communication/broadcasting. She also is a former Miss MSU.
Third alternate Caroline Conerly is a student at the University of Mississippi.
“We are so proud that the ladies from MSU have competed with confidence, beauty and intelligence in a way that has served them well individually in pursuit of their goals. It is a point of pride for the university to have our institution represented so well during Miss Mississippi,” Treptow said.
She said seven Miss MSU’s have been named Miss Mississippi over the past several years, with one going on to claim the Miss America title in 1980.
Additionally, three MSU students who competed with different titles were named Miss Mississippi in recent years.
“All total, that is five MSU students named Miss Mississippi out of the past nine years,” Treptow said.
Treptow said the experience helps young ladies gain confidence, as well as display and develop personal talents. She added that winning a title gives a young woman a platform to voice issues that are important, as well as an opportunity to serve others.
This year’s Miss Mississippi and first alternate, Murray and Lewis, both promoted platforms related to the importance of young women having positive role models in their lives.
“Because they’ve been given a great opportunity to become role models themselves, and both Jasmine and Laura Lee have been impacted by role models, they each developed platforms which speak to the importance of mentoring,” Treptow said.
Lewis’s platform is called “Mentoring Matters.”
Murray will continue promoting her “13 Going On 30” program which encourages girls not to grow up too quickly. The new Miss Mississippi already has held motivational camps and public speaking tours to reach hundreds of young girls with messages about how to handle peer pressure and bullying.