Karolyn Martin, a rising senior in the Honors College majoring in communication studies with a minor in marketing, placed as the Second Runner Up out of thirty-four women in the Miss North Carolina Scholarship Competition on June 26, 2021 at the High Point Theatre. Martin won Miss Moore County in both 2020 and 2021, and a total of $7,000 in scholarships. She also received the Quality of Life Award for community service.
Photo above shows Karolyn Martin after her interview for the 2021 Miss North Carolina Scholarship Competition.
Martin initially began competing in the Miss America Organization for the scholarship opportunities. The Miss America Organization is one of the largest providers of scholarships for women in the world, and contributes over $2 million annually in scholarships to women in the United States. Martin shared,
“Due to the Miss America Organization, I have completely paid off one of my student loans and am working towards paying off my second one. I continue to compete not only for the scholarship opportunities but also for the opportunity to inspire others. As a titleholder your ‘sparkly hat’ makes people want to listen to you. It gives you the opportunity to influence, impact, and inspire each person you come in contact with through personal interactions.”
In addition to the scholarships awarded for the national competition, the foundation provides scholarships based upon academic achievement and service to the community. The 2018 Jean Bartel Quality of Life Award, at the state level named the Dana Lynette Reason Quality of Life Award after former Miss North Carolina Dana Reason, recognizes contestants who excel in their commitment to community service. Martin won this award at the North Carolina 2021 competition for her service including: volunteering at the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals (in person and virtually), hosting a free virtual wellness summit, creating countywide COVID-19 PSAs with the public health department, and working with her local NAACP to execute a vigil for George Floyd. Most notably, with her social impact initiative #SelfKare: Eat to Success, Martin has spoken to over 2,000 Moore County students and published a cookbook entitled The Self Kare Kitchen: Dorm Meals for the Healthy College Student. Martin described her inspiration behind the cookbook,
“I want to change the dialogue around food and wellness by promoting positive wellness — a mindset that empowers us to make healthy choices, better ourselves, and appreciate our bodies for what they do today.”
Martin is currently progressing towards graduation from the Honors College. In her Honors thesis, Martin plans to study the effect of social media and marketing on body image and eating habits. This project will combine her academic areas of focus with her social impact initiative #SelfKare: Eat to Success, which promotes nourishing habits while taking the focus off of weight and appearance.
Martin’s career goals are to own a consulting marketing agency to help women create an impactful brand and social media presence. She plans to pursue both Juris Doctor and a Master of Business Administration degrees. Martin explains that her participation in the Miss America Competitions aligns directly with her professional path. She stated,
“As a titleholder, your job is to connect with people! That personal connection allows you to go from a "pageant queen" to a real person in the eyes of others. As someone that plans to work in marketing, personal connection is the greatest tool I have. When companies are able to connect their products to people and their lives consumers are more likely to want our purchase their product over their competitor's.”
Martin encourages other Honors students to get involved in the Miss American Organization if eligible. She shared,
“Not only does the Miss America Organization provide scholarship and performance opportunities, but they also provide professional development and networking sessions open to titleholders and the general public. The Miss America Organization is not a beauty pageant. It is a scholarship program that allows candidates to learn and practice interview skills, create a personal brand, and make lifelong friendships and connections…All it takes is hard work and staying true to yourself!”
Top photo features Karolyn Martin after finals night in her evening gown at the Miss North Carolina Scholarship Competition on June 26, 2021 at the High Point Theatre.