Junior in business analytics
Nominated by Auburn Active Minds
"Mental health has always been an integral part of my life. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety when I was 17 and did not personally accept my diagnosis until I was 19. The delay was due to the stigma I associated with mental health. A fundamental part of my healing was others understanding and supporting my condition. I felt, like so many do in our society and community, that everyone had it all together and wouldn’t understand what I was going through. I didn’t want my name to be associated with words such as 'depression' and 'anxiety.' That is the root of the problem. I want to run on a platform of transparency. It’s so easy in our society to fear vulnerability and to put on a mask. We construct that mask by posting perfect pictures on our social media, putting on a brave face, and not speaking up when we are struggling. We think that the mask is only protecting ourselves and our reputation, but instead it only hurts us and all those around us. How can we expect those who are struggling to reach out when they believe that nobody else understands or is suffering through something similar? The door to transparency is the door to healing. If one person opens up about their struggles, they can inspire someone else to gather the courage to ask for help. I believe that if the Auburn family vocalized their struggles and allowed others to see through us to our core, we can create an environment of understanding and support for all. A tangible step towards this goal is to create a mentorship program on Auburn’s campus. I work alongside Student Counseling Services for my student organization and they have expressed interest in a partnership with this program. Students (possibly targeting freshmen as the mentees) could be paired in a group or one-on-one with a mentor to discuss struggles, mental health concerns they are dealing with, or simply to just be a support system throughout day-today life. These mentors would be older undergraduate students who are all trained in Kognito training to recognize the signs of mental health struggles. Their role would be to be transparent with their mentee so as to encourage and inspire them. Next, I believe that monthly Mental Health town meetings be held so that students are updated on newest developments and feel that their struggles and concerns are significant. At these town meetings I believe that a few students share their personal stories before a panel is open to discussion. Finally, I believe that Auburn should host a social media campaign similar to #HalfTheStory where students have a day that they post what we don’t see on their social media accounts – their struggles, heartbreak, stress, etc. In numbers, this could do wonders to make the Auburn community feel liberated, understood, and supported."
Junior in communication disorders
Nominated by AU Singers
"I am so excited to run for Miss Auburn. My platform, AUsome Dreams, focuses on making uniquely Auburn dreams come true for people with disabilities. Whether it’s leading a cheer with Auburn Cheerleaders, riding a horse alongside an Auburn Equestrian, or performing alongside the Auburn University Singers, my goal is to discover their passions and make their Auburn dreams come true. I’ve had a passion for people with disabilities since my younger sister, Anna, was born with Down Syndrome, which has drastically impacted my life in the best way. I want students to realize that people with disabilities are just like you and me, and that their disability is only a characteristic of who they are, not a definition. And what better way to encourage this awareness than by increasing the frequency of interactions with these beautiful people right here on Auburn’s campus. Ultimately, I want to develop a collegiate program here at Auburn University for people with disabilities that will give them a college experience as wonderful as ours, thriving under a tailored curriculum. My dream is that my intelligent, talented, sassy sister Anna, and others like her will have the opportunity to achieve their ultimate Auburn dreams. I invite you to dream big with me."
Junior in accountancy
Nominated by Rho Lambda (National Sorority Leadership Recognition Society)
"Only 35% of students have reported being educated on money management in school. This statistic is troubling because these students are the future of this community, of this university and of this country. These students are future teachers, nurses, and CEOs. This week, as a Miss Auburn candidate, I am raising awareness for Financial Literacy. I am promoting the education of young students on important financial skills, such as writing a check, opening a savings account, and budgeting.
This issue facing our communities really hit home with me in high school as a member of Finance Academy. I was able to see the impact financial education had on my fellow students, who learned how to save for college and plan for their future. I have seen first hand how little this topic is stressed in standard curriculum, especially in elementary and middle schools. I want to change this and there is no better place for me to start than in a community that has meant so much to me. As a fourth generation Auburn student, this place has been my home away from home for so many years and there is no place I would rather invest my time in.
During my time here at Auburn, I have had the opportunity to continue working with programs that educate younger students on Financial Education. One great event our university hosts is the Financial Literacy Fair, organized by Dr. Sarah Stanwick and the School of Accountancy. This program educates young students on important topics, such as checking accounts, taxes, and smart spending. I hope that this program will continue to grow and eventually be held on campus. Hosting this event on campus would accommodate more schools and Auburn students. This week is about more than just education; it’s about building confidence and encouraging students to develop their money management skills. It’s about empowering them and paving their way to a brighter future.
The Auburn creed states, “I believe in education, which gives me the knowledge to work wisely and trains my mind and my hands to work skillfully.” I hope we as Auburn Students can fulfill these ideals of George Petrire to use the knowledge we’ve been so lucky to receive to educate others and build up this community. "
Katelyn A. Simpkins
Junior in biomedical sciences
Nominated by Beat Bama Food Drive
"I am so proud to be able to continue my efforts by partnering with the Food Bank of East Alabama to raise funds and educate the Auburn student body on the Backpack Program. Every Monday, teachers in the Auburn-Opelika area battle for the attention of their hungry students. But once the weekend rolls around, resources like free or reduced priced lunch are not an option and the items in their backpacks become their lifeline for the weekend. The Backpack Program aims to meet the needs of chronically hungry children, by providing easy-to-prepare meals and snacks for weekends and school breaks. These food packs cost only $3.50 to make are packed with “kid-approved snacks” and everyday necessities like toothbrushes. My goal is to create a future for our young students by equipping them with consistent nutritious food in order to increase their concentration, improve their test scores, and decrease absences. These small improvements open the door for the children to be able to graduate and attend wonderful schools like Auburn University, where they can be the next leaders, athletes, and scholars."
Junior in public relations
Nominated by Athletic Recruiters
"My platform is 'Finding Balance with Faith.' With my platform, I hope to give students the opportunity to have 3 visits to our university dietician for free. My hope is that students who have misused performance enhancing drugs to gain muscle, students who have gained the infamous 'freshman 15' or for students like me who have struggled with an eating disorder, will know how to eat to properly nourish their bodies."