RICHMOND, Va. -- Breana Turner, a Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech, was named the first-ever Miss Virginia Volunteer at a weekend event in Lynchburg.
Turner, 24, earned $10,000 in scholarship money, as well as a car and apartment for her year of service.
“I was so excited to be around so many phenomenal women,” Turner, a pianist representing Northern Virginia, said of her experience at the inaugural pageant. “I jumped right in and I’m so glad I did. They treated us like royalty all week.”
The pageant is part of the new Miss Volunteer America system, which seeks to empower young women across the country through educational scholarships and extraordinary opportunities.
Turner will compete at the national competition next May in Tennessee.
“I said, ‘sign me up! I am in,’” recalled Vickie Runk, Virginia’s Executive Director, of the opportunity to be a part of the Miss Volunteer America program. “This isn’t just about this moment, but many more moments to come. Creating a state-wide platform for these girls to shine and pour into our communities throughout Virginia sounded so powerful to me. Changing our communities one at a time in a big way- a more powerful way- to show we are intelligent women, we are caring women, and we are Virginians.”
Turner holds a Master of Public Health degree from VT and a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from George Mason University. Her parents, Joseph and Sonji Turner, reside in Loudoun County.
She has spent the past five years building her mentoring program "Sisters with Ambition,” but will dedicate her reign to advocating for women’s health.
“Good health means more than the absence of illness,” Turner said of her social platform, RAISE, which “emphasizes the importance of living a balanced lifestyle for overall well-being. Through resilience, ambition, integrity, support, and empowerment, RAISE has impacted women and girls nationwide since 2016. Those core values represent who I am and who I will be as the very first Miss Virginia Volunteer.”
Other finalists included first runner-up Mia Nelson, of Lynchburg, who won a $2,500 scholarship, and second runner-up Kate Clatterbuck, of Danville, earning a total of $1,800 in scholarship prizes.
CBS 6 anchor Bree Sison emceed the state pageant finals. You can find out more about the Miss Virginia Volunteer program here, including how to sign up and how to volunteer.