Indiana State University Newsroom

ISU students and an alum look to be the next Miss Indiana

June 16, 2023

June 14 kicked off the journey to see who will be crowned the queen of the Hoosier State. Over four days, dozens of contestants will compete in several areas of competition, including a private interview, talent, evening gown, fitness, and an on-stage interview.

Indiana State University is well represented by three talented contestants, Emilee Hunt, Kyandra Zerrusen, and Mallory Baumann.

Photo. Hometown: Terre Haute, now living in Zionsville. Class of 2019. Major: Communications.

 Current job: Manager, Partner Communications + INDY NXT

Meet Emilee Hunt. This Terre Haute native is no stranger to the big stage. She's competed twice in the Miss Indiana competition and holds the Miss Fall Festival title to Zionsville. Her path to the crown is "non-traditional," as she calls it. Hunt started competing later than most contestants and then took a break to sort out her adult life to return as the best version of herself.

Her motivation to become Miss Indiana started early. She attended the pageant as a young girl. At Indiana State, she was talked into trying the contest, loved the experience, and hasn't looked back.

"The title of Miss Indiana to me would mean a lot. I have come a long way in my journey to the Miss Indiana stage and have told much of my story. I have broken down my barriers to tell my story, and I think having the platform as Miss Indiana to educate even more at a different level on invisible illnesses would be super special to me," Hunt said.

Even with the bright lights at center stage, she's calm. Helping ease her mind is the competition experience and a strong sense of resiliency.

"I am feeling at peace this time. I feel confident in who I am and what I can offer to the job as Miss Indiana. There are always nerves, though; I think those are good to have. I want to remain grounded and comfortable heading into the week and hope for the best outcome!" she added.

At ISU, Hunt was involved with State Dance Marathon and a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha.

Photo bio: Name: Mallory Baumann. Grade: Senior Major: Theatre Hometown: New Albany, IN

Miss Indiana State University, Mallory Baumann said heading into the competition, she's "nercited," a combination of nervous and excited, but ready to embark on the journey and grow throughout it.

Baumann on why she wanted to enter the contest: "With the organization being an incredible opportunity for a woman to grow and become confident. This organization provides financial stability by giving opportunities to win scholarships to help with our education. I wanted to become the strongest and most confident version of myself."

Her competition career began in 2019 at the Miss Harvest Homecoming. She may not have left with a crown, but she did walkway with love for the organization and a determination to work towards her moment. Years later, she won Miss Indiana State University out of 18 contestants, one of the biggest local competitions. Since winning Miss ISU, Baumann has been heavily involved across campus by networking with people, emceeing events, and representing the university to a very high standard.

"Having the opportunity to represent the state I grew up in would be rewarding, to say the least. I feel it would be something that would change my life forever while providing financial stability for school and different opportunities to gain confidence, as well as opportunities to help me throughout my entire life," she added.

Baumann is a member of Chi Omega, the Vice President of Sisterhood for the Panhellenic Association, and Vice President of External Relations and Engagement for State Dance Marathon.

Name: Kyandra Zerrusen Grade: Sophomore Hometown: Effingham, Il 

An aspiring lawyer, Miss Crossroads of America, and a driving motivation to share her passions on a large platform as Miss Indiana, she is Kyandra Zerrusen.

She's won many awards since the age of 16 in the Illinois County Fair system. Miss Indiana wasn't on her radar before, but as the biggest stage of her life approaches, the emotions are high, and so is her gratitude.

"I had never considered competing for any prelims in the Miss America Opportunity before arriving at Indiana State University. I competed for Miss ISU simply for fun and loved the experience. The journey has been full of fear, excitement, and learning. I would love the chance to represent the Hoosier state as Miss Indiana to further my message about agriculture appreciation," she said.

Even on the long days of competition, Zerrusen said one of her favorite parts is the camaraderie amongst the competitors. During the 2023 Miss Crossroads event, she describes strong support: "The girls really support each other and want one another to succeed." Her ability to build and maintain relationships has served her well headed into Zionsville. She's ready thanks to her preparation and willingness to ask others for help.

"I am truly grateful for all the other title holders and how helpful they have been to me through this experience. They answered all my questions and prepared me for the week. As a first-year Miss Indiana contestant, I am grateful for the opportunity to compete for a state title. I honestly can barely believe it," she added.

Indiana State University wishes all three contestants the best of luck.