Madison Marsh, a twenty-two year old, active duty Air Force Officer excited and inspired the country as she was crowned Miss America 2024 earlier this month.
Marsh, a U.S Air Force Academy graduate, pursued an interest in pageants at the young age of fifteen after watching her cousin compete. During her freshman year at the Air Force Academy, as she tried to find her place and identity in the world around her, Marsh said pageants represented the opportunity to engage in public speaking and community service.
She graduated from the Academy as a second lieutenant last year, just days before winning her title of Miss Colorado. She is now attending Harvard’s Kennedy School graduate program.
As she begins her reign as Miss America, Marsh plans to continue military service. She praises the Air Force for the opportunity to combine these two vastly different lifestyles:
"I wouldn't be able to be Miss America or even go to Harvard without the opportunities that the Air Force provided. They gave me all of the tools at the Air Force Academy to compete in pageants, to get the scholarships I received, to send me to Harvard while I'm still active duty.”
Marsh also says she believes that as an active duty service member she is serving her country, while also serving her community as Miss America. She hopes to continues to advocate for service members who wish to pursue their outside interests while serving their country:
"We really want to mesh these two roles together, so I can advocate for people that are armed service members and really try to get more people to join the service."
Outside of being a second lieutenant and competing in pageants, Marsh is passionate about finding a cure and advancing research about pancreatic cancer. She’s interested in applying artificial intelligence to assist healthcare providers in early cancer detection. Marsh lost her Mom to pancreatic cancer in 2018. She recalls her being a perfectly healthy forty-one year old woman when she received the diagnosis.
"Because if my mom can't get to be here, I want to ensure that other families get to have their moms, brothers, sisters, fathers, you name it. That's the type of person that I want to be for my mom."