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Active-duty US Air Force officer crowned 2024 Miss America
Source: United States Air Force

Active-duty US Air Force officer crowned 2024 Miss America

Madison Marsh of Colorado defeated 50 other Miss America contestants representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia on Sunday, thereby taking the crown. The 22-year-old, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, is the first active-duty service member to win.

Ahead of her decisive victory, Marsh, an Arkansas native, told the Harvard Crimson that pageantry "really relates to the military a lot because you're serving but in a different way."

"When I put on my uniform, I serve and I represent our country," said Marsh. "When I put on the crown and sash, I'm serving, representing my community."

The USAF was quick to congratulate its own, noting that "Marsh is currently pursuing her master's degree in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School through the Air Force Institute of Technology's Civilian Institution Program, which falls under Air University."

The Air Force added the hashtag, "AimHigh."

Marsh is attending the Harvard Kennedy School on a Harry S. Truman Scholarship. She credits the Air Force Academy, where she earned a degree in physics, with helping to shape her into a prime candidate.

"I don't think I ever would have gotten into Harvard if I wouldn't have gone to the Air Force Academy," Marsh told the Crimson. "I don't think I ever would have become Miss Colorado without the Air Force Academy because they have trained me and honed in on my leadership."

Earlier this month, the Air Force Academy shared photos of Marsh, who earned her pilot's license at the age of 16, beside a glider plane, captioned, "From the flight line to the spotlight." During the talent portion of the Sunday finals, Marsh recalled the exhilaration and suspense of her first solo flight.

Prior to studying at the Harvard Kennedy School, Marsh served both as a graduate intern at Harvard Medical School, looking at ways of using artificial intelligence to detect pancreatic cancer, and as an intern at NASA, researching gamma-ray bursts, according to the Miss Colorado website.

In addition to her academics, Marsh also holds a black belt in taekwondo.

Following her win, Marsh wrote in an Instagram post, "My momma — this one is all for you."

Marsh started the Whitney Marsh Foundation after her mother succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2018. As president of the foundation, she has raised over $250,000 for cancer research.

Marsh, previously crowned Miss Colorado in 2023, indicated that she intends to apply her insights into cancer research and apply them to her policy degree, "trying to translate it to make sure that we're enacting policy that's equitable for all patients."

The crown comes with a $60,000 scholarship award and an opportunity to travel the U.S. as Miss America's ambassador.

Colorado Springs Mayor Yemi Mobolade noted on X, "Madison, the @CityofCOS wishes you great success. You have inspired countless young girls to dream big and reach for the stars. Congratulations!"

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News. He lives in a small town with his wife and son, moonlighting as an author of science fiction.
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