The newly minted Miss America is the competition’s first active-duty Air Force officer.
Miss Colorado Madison Marsh was crowned Miss America during the Sunday night ceremony in Orlando. Marsh is a 2023 alum of the Air Force Academy with a degree in physics and a graduate student at the Harvard Kennedy School.
During the pageant, Marsh spoke about her mom Whitney’s 2018 death from pancreatic cancer and participated in interviews about her groundbreaking dual status as a crown holder and U.S. servicemember.
Marsh founded the Whitney Marsh Foundation with family members. She has raised over $250,000 for pancreatic cancer research, according to her official bio. She was crowned by 2023 Miss America Grace Stanke, a nuclear engineering student from Wisconsin. Miss Texas Ellie Breaux was named first runner up.
More:Miss Wisconsin Grace Stanke, a nuclear engineering student, crowned Miss America 2023
The 2024 Miss America competition was held over a dayslong stretch in Orlando for the first time ever. Marsh’s winnings include a $60,000 tuition scholarship.
Miss America was established in 1921 as the “Inter-City Beauty Contest” and first held on the famous boardwalk of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The competition has gone through many changes since 2018, including ditching swimsuits, location changes and no longer wanting to be referred to by organizers as a “pageant.”
The Miss America competition calls itself “one of the nation’s largest providers of scholarship assistance to young women” and “a platform to amplify women’s voices during times in our country’s history when they have been needed most.”
Contributing: Drake Bentley, Jamie Rokus, Elise Brisco, Barbara VanDenburgh