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The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

Miss America

Madison Marsh is the 2024 winner of Miss America. She is also in the Air Force, Whitney Marsh Foundation president, and Harvard Kennedy School. (People)

This year’s Miss America winner, Madison Marsh, is not only a beauty queen, but also an Air Force Officer and Harvard student. In 2018, Marsh lost her mother to pancreatic cancer, and she created the Whitney Marsh Foundation in her honor. The foundation raises money for research and awareness of pancreatic cancer. She is the co-founder and president.

“The Whitney Marsh Foundation has provided Fort Smith’s Mercy Hospital funding for the Galleri test by Grail! If you are at risk for cancer and cannot afford the test, the foundation is here to ensure no patient is left behind. We strive to provide equal access to cancer screeners, so every Arkansan has a better chance to beat cancer,” according to the foundation’s website. 

The test is a multi-cancer early detection test that looks for signals of cancer through blood drawing. Most of the cancers that the test can detect usually are not detected before symptoms appear. 

Marsh wanted to be an astronaut when she was a kid. She even attended NASA’s Space Camp when she was 13-years-old. This inspiration drove her towards the Air Force Academy, where she could begin her journey to becoming an astronaut. 

She was able to obtain her civilian pilot license at 17-years-old. 

Marsh is the first active-duty Air Force officer to win the Miss America title. 

Her national platform helped disprove the idea that military roles are too masculine for women. Her win shows that the armed forces can excel in areas outside of their area like beauty, grace, and public speaking. Marsh’s title is empowering for young girls, as well as women in the military, a particularly male-dominated industry. 

She highlights that women can excel in positions that serve their country, as well as represent the country in national competitions. 

Marsh graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2023, with a degree in physics after many internships, including one with NASA. 

In September of 2023, she pursued a Master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. 

She is also a graduate intern with the Harvard Medical School, where she works with experts on research for early cancer detection. 

While juggling winning Miss America and being an active-duty military member is difficult, she said that the Air Force has been supportive of her. She said that through this experience she has learned to rearrange her priorities. 

When she is attending Miss America events, she is representing the Air Force. This shines light on the important work of our armed forces and those who serve. This gives Miss America a platform to talk about the military and veterans. 

Marsh plans to remain in the military and attend pilot training while remaining in her current title as Second Lieutenant in the Air Force. 

“You can achieve anything. The sky is not the limit and the only person that’s stopping you is you,” Marsh said in an interview, shared via Miss America’s Instagram story.

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