November 1, 2013
An Indiana State University student used her personality, talent and business skills to capture the title of Miss Indiana State University 2014 and earn a chance at the Miss Indiana crown.
For Jessica Weesner, a senior accounting major from Cambridge City, it was enough for her first pageant experience. Up until she hit the stage of University Hall, she had only competed twice - for festival and county fair queen titles.
"Neither of them had talent or swimsuit. And the Canal Days Festival didn't have an interview component," Weesner said. "This was a whole new challenge."
It was a challenge she was up to, adding the skills she has learned as a business student and Networks Scholar made her feel comfortable in the interview and dancing for 16 years gave her confidence.
"I was comfortable with being onstage," she said.
Then there was the fitness and healthy lifestyle portion of the evening.
"That was the one thing I hadn't done before - putting on a swimsuit, jewelry and heels and walking out in front of a crowd," Weesner said. "It was nerve-racking, but it pushed me to improve my fitness and eat better."
Weesner, sporting a costume of Indiana State blue and white, seemed energized as she danced to the Jackson 5 standard "Goin Back to Indiana." But audience members only had to watch and listen to know that this wasn't your usual tap dance - it was contemporary clogging.
"The difference between tap and contemporary clogging is the shoe," Weesner explained. "The taps on my shoes aren't fully attached. It sounds and moves differently."
She's been clogging for 12 years, having started tap and acrobatic dance at the tender age of 2.
"At my studio back home, clogging was very popular," Weesner said. "I would go to the recitals and watch the older, cool girls clog. They were my role models."
She started clogging at age 9 and hasn't looked back.
"It's opened up a lot of doors for me," she said. "And I thoroughly enjoy it."
Attending Indiana State has also opened a lot of doors for Weesner, a first generation college student aspiring to be a certified public accountant. She's involved in Chi Omega Sorority, Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity, Beta Alpha Psi Accounting Fraternity and Sycamore Ambassadors in addition to Networks.
As a Networks Scholar, she has traveled abroad to England, Ireland, Germany and Switzerland and planned a group excursion to San Francisco. She has also benefitted from the mentorship of Indiana State alumnus and successful businessman Larry Boulet as well as the numerous professional development activities made available to scholars.
"It has rounded out my college experience," Weesner said. "It fine tunes my soft skills to succeed in my career and has helped me to be involved in the community. "
It was through her work with Chi Omega that she realized the impact the Make a Wish Foundation has on ill children and families. Her work with the Foundation, which is also her sorority's philanthropy, influenced her platform of overcoming childhood medical challenges through Make a Wish.
"The first time I worked with a "wish" child and saw the smile on their face, I was sold," Weesner said, explaining that there is a need to relieve the emotional and financial burden associated with children born with life-threatening diseases.
"It affects the child and the family 24/7," she added."Seeing the impact the Make a Wish Foundation has firsthand sparked an interest. I want to raise awareness by working with students, organizations and the Terre Haute community."
Being Miss ISU isn't something the 21-year-old senior is taking lightly.
"It's quite an honor," Weesner said, beaming. "I've grown fond of Indiana State and want to work as an ambassador to the university out in the community and around the state to promote education to others."But there's work to do before competing for the Miss Indiana crown. In the months leading up to June, Weesner will work on her interview skills, work out with a personal trainer and will develop her talent.
The Miss ISU Scholarship Program began in 1958, and Weesner is the 31st winner, receiving a $1500 scholarship. She will now begin preparing for Miss Indiana, which takes place in June 2014 in Zionsville. The Miss Indiana Scholarship Program is a preliminary for the Miss America Scholarship Program.
Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications and Marketing, 812-237-3783 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Jessica Weesner her personality, talent and business skills to capture the title of Miss Indiana State University 2014 and earn a chance at the Miss Indiana crown.