‘Chemistry Queen’ heads to N.J.: Roberts to represent state in Miss America Pageant

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Miss Mississippi Hannah Roberts proudly displays her sash in front of the Aubrey K. Lucas Administration Building.

Just a month after being crowned Miss Mississippi, Hannah Roberts is preparing for the televised Miss America Pageant to be held Sept. 13 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Roberts will represent Mississippi as the 59th pageant winner in the national contest. If she wins next month, she will be the fifth Miss Mississippi to be crowned Miss America.

Roberts is a recent graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi with an undergraduate degree in chemistry. She is also a Kappa Delta sorority alumni, Goldwater Scholar, skilled violinist and philanthropist. She has been accepted into medical school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. She hopes to pursue a career as a pediatric reconstructive
plastic surgeon.

Roberts has, however, deferred a year at UMMC as required by the Miss Mississippi contract. She was crowned Miss University of Southern Mississippi in 2013 and
again in 2015.

Current Miss University of Southern Mississippi and medical student Kristen Dupard agreed that maintaining excellence in different areas
is challenging.

“The biggest task is keeping the end game in mind by being committed to here and now,” Dupard said. “People oftentimes get tunnel vision, but it’s important to think about the big picture. Being able to balance things in college equips us for the future. Especially as women in the science field, people like Hannah and I may not have broken the glass ceiling for women, but we have put cracks in it. We’re shaping the future for women alike.”

Having concluded her undergraduate career at USM, Roberts continues to work her way up in the pageant and science worlds.

“My time at USM gave me memories that I will always treasure. Because of the people I met and the experiences I had, The University of Southern Mississippi was the perfect place for me to begin the journey I’m on now.” – Roberts

Roberts views her accomplishments as an advancement in society but is not surprised that other Miss America contestants are accomplished in two or
more areas.

“I feel that this shows how far society has come in accepting women over the last 100 years,” Roberts said. “This year marks the 95th anniversary of Miss America, and the pageant has evolved since its beginning. Women that compete are intelligent, talented and driven; many of them plan to go to graduate or professional school.”

Roberts is working toward her next competition. Her preparation efforts for the Miss America competition include mock interviews, talent rehearsals, fitness training and even walking practices. Roberts said that The Miss Mississippi Board of Directors is her support system along with family and friends who have helped along the way.

Winning the state pageant has given Roberts the opportunity to expose her ambitions and accomplishments nationwide. She runs a charity called Pages of Love, by which she has donated more than 25,000 books to schools, hospitals and homeless shelters. Hannah Roberts is garnering Miss America pageant votes via word of mouth, social media and different events.

The Miss Mississippi Send-Off Celebration is set for Aug. 22 at noon at the Vicksburg City Auditorium, where Roberts will showcase different gowns she will wear in the Miss America pageant. Tickets are $25 and include lunch and a fashion show.