Style, Scholarship, Success, and Service.
Beauty pageants aren’t my thing, but scholarship pageants are. As a 22 year-old dental student, you might wonder why I would be involved with the Miss America Organization and how I juggle my ASDA commitments and studies. Nine times out of 10, I believe that living in the present and following passions is more valuable than sticking to a rigid schedule. I picked up this mentality from the Miss America Organization.
Recently, I lobbied in New England and in Washington, D.C. (at ASDA’s National Dental Student Lobby Day) for dental care and student debt issues that took precedence over almost everything in my life. Being “flexible and gracious” is how I am trying to live my life and it has allowed me to find time for community service, scholarship applications, studying, lobbying, etc. because I prioritize my needs second. To be honest, this sometimes leaves me studying at 11 pm on a treadmill because I prioritized other commitments first. Would I trade this mentality for anything? Never. Do I feel like I’ve taken on too much? Not at all.
On March 30th, 2014 I was set to compete in the Miss Collegiate Area Scholarship Pageant, my first time ever competing for an official preliminary to Miss Massachusetts. I was looking forward to it because I knew I would meet other women with educational goals similar to mine who enjoy community service, raising funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, performing and preparing themselves to be future leaders in their communities.
A few days before the pageant, I felt compelled to travel for dental lobbying efforts. This meant I had to delay studying for a final exam the same week and preparing for my pageant. I ended up studying with my classmate Alex in the car and bringing my notes to the hotel gym. I credit lobbying, dental school interviews and Miss America Organization interview prep for complementing one another and making it possible for me to testify in front of congress regarding my views on dental care. ASDA’s Lobby Day efforts were a huge success this year and thankfully, I passed my test. To my surprise, a few days later, I won the title of Miss Collegiate Area 2014 along with an educational scholarship. In fact, Miss America is the world’s largest provider of scholarships for women.
How will my involvement benefit my future patients? Less student loan debt will allow me to treat more patients based on need rather than ability to pay. With experience on stage and in the interview room, I will be more comfortable answering patient questions and dealing with unexpected circumstances. This year, I fundraised and successfully established a college scholarship for a female student from a Boston Public High School. I hope to own a dental practice in the future and sponsor scholarships for students, and because of my involvement with the Miss America Organization and ASDA, I have learned that there is no time like the present.
~Lauren Kuhn, Harvard ’17, predental chair