Alumna Kuhn Vies for Miss America

July 25, 2014
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Lauren Kuhn was already bracing for a busy fall as a second-year Harvard Dental School student. Now, after being crowned Miss Massachusetts on June 29, the Gonzaga University alumna will compete for the title of Miss America in September.

Kuhn, who graduated from Gonzaga in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and has won multiple regional pageant titles, becomes the apparent third Gonzaga alumna to vie for the coveted crown. The others are Fianna Dickson, Miss Washington 2003, and Kara Hertz, Miss Montana 2001.

As a Gonzaga freshman, Kuhn sought out Hertz, Gonzaga’s director of regional engagement and alumni operations, as a mentor to help improve her pageant and professional skills. Hertz recalls Kuhn’s commitment to become an orthodontist.

“I remember her as a freshman. I thought ‘this girl is just really good’ and she had these huge goals,” said Hertz. “She just doesn’t let anything get in her way and she’s so humble at the same time. She’s a really great role model.”

As a senior, Kuhn captured the title of Miss Seattle and moved a step closer to the Miss America Pageant. Initially, she had planned to compete for the title of Miss Washington and attend the University of Washington Dental School. However, her acceptance to the Harvard School of Dental Medicine changed that plan.

The Miss America Pageant emphasizes education and scholarship for young women and Kuhn has earned more than $35,000 for school with a chance for another $50,000 if she wins the Miss America Pageant in September. She began competing in pageants to help pay for college and make a difference through charity work. In her first year at Harvard, she won the Miss Collegiate Area for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and was crowned Miss Massachusetts on June 29.

Kuhn is spending her summer practicing the piano, working out, and preparing for the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The pageant begins with a two-week orientation and three nights of preliminary competition in which contestants are judged on their talent, a private interview, evening wear, lifestyle, fitness in swimsuit, and response to an on-stage question.

The winner will spend the next year traveling the country making appearances and promoting her platform.

“It’s just really surreal,” said Kuhn. “Miss America is such an icon, so I’m excited to get to be a part of that.”