University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations

September 18, 2008

Contacts:   USA: Jennifer Z. Ekman, (251) 460-6360
                     AJM: Cassidy Grimes, (251) 438-3621

USA Welcomes Three State Winners of America's Junior Miss as Freshmen
Left to right:  Brynn Armstrong, Lauren Gessner, Twila Tschan, Hannah Yeats, President Gordon Moulton, and Kaila Mattson
University of South Alabama President Gordon Moulton welcomes three state winners of the America's Junior Miss program to campus as freshmen this fall. Each state winner received a full scholarship worth more than $40,000 to cover tuition, room, board, fees, books and a laptop computer. The three freshmen join two sophomores, who were America's Junior Miss state winners in 2007. From left, sophomore Brynn Armstrong of New York, freshman Lauren Gessner of Ohio, freshman Twila Tschan of Oregon, freshman Hannah Yeats of Idaho, Moulton, and sophomore Kaila Mattson of Wisconsin.

The University of South Alabama welcomes three state winners of the America’s Junior Miss program as freshmen this fall. The three first-year students join two sophomores for a total of five state winners from the America’s Junior Miss program currently enrolled at USA.

Freshman students Twila Tschan of Oregon, Hannah Yeats of Idaho, and Lauren Gessner of Ohio each received full scholarships worth more than $40,000. Each scholarship covers tuition, fees, room and board. It also includes a $1,000 stipend for books and $1,250 for a laptop computer.

The America’s Junior Miss scholarship is available to any state winner with an ACT score of 30 or higher and top high school academics. Last fall, USA was proud to welcome New York’s Junior Miss, Brynn Armstrong, and Kaila Mattson, Wisconsin's Junior Miss.

USA President Gordon Moulton will welcome the new students with a scholarship ceremony and luncheon at noon on Wednesday, Sept. 17, in the Administration Building, Room 122.

 “We are gratified that the University of South Alabama's high quality academic programs and dedicated faculty continue to make it a first-choice institution among the nation’s most academically talented students,” USA President Gordon Moulton said. “Students of this quality have many options, and we are certain they will have a positive experience at USA.”

America’s Junior Miss Executive Director Becky Jo Peterson said, “AJM is proud to welcome back three of our Junior Misses from this year's class, each of whom have earned full scholarships to the University of South Alabama through their participation in our program.

“AJM provides more than $2 million in cash scholarships to Junior Misses each year and college granted scholarships to more than 200 colleges and universities across the nation. We are proud that the University of South Alabama is one of them and look forward to having more Junior Misses return to Mobile to continue their educations.”

Lauren Gessner is a recent graduate of Canfield High School in Canfield, Ohio, where she was president of the One Octave Higher Choir, vice president of the drama club, and a member of the Chamber Choir. Gessner served as an athlete on multiple teams as well as copy editor for the school newspaper. Her honors include Salutatorian, High Honor Roll, PTO Academics Award 4.0 Honoree, and CHS Class of 2008 – “Most Talented.” Gessner donated ten inches of her own hair for Wigs for Kids, performed at local hospitals and nursing homes, and volunteered with Angels for Animals, The American Cancer Society, and the Clean-Up Youngstown & Rescue Mission. She hopes to pursue a career as a news anchor or book editor.

Twila Tschan graduated from Newberg High School in Newberg, Ore., where she was a leader in the show choir, served on several committees, and participated in the German–American Partnership Program. Some of Tschan’s many honors include National Merit Scholar Commendation, German–American Society Scholarship, All-Northwest Women’s Choir, and 2008 International Thespian Society Inductee. She has been involved in several volunteer projects, including GAGA Mexico short-term Missions Trip, Burnside Bridge Service Project, and Watershed Clean-Up and Planting. Tschan plans to study International Business, with plans to become a U.N. Ambassador.

Hannah Yeats, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, graduated from Coeur d’Alene High School where she was heavily involved in both academics and extracurricular activities. Yeats served as class vice president as well as a Pathfinder mentor and a Peak mentor. She also held many positions in honor choirs as well as her school musical. Yeats has volunteered with Fernan’s Summer Developmental Pre-School and tutoring in math and Spanish. In addition, she served as a KMC Teen Volunteer, STLT Pay it Forward Volunteer, and Lakes Middle School IDFY volunteer. Yeats intends to pursue a career as a General Surgeon.

Sophomore students Brynn Armstrong of Orchard Park, N.Y., and Kaila Mattson of Hartland, Wis., are enjoying their second year at USA. Armstrong is a student in the Mitchell College of Business. Meanwhile, Mattson is studying chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences.

America’s Junior Miss

Founded in 1958, AJM's goal is to honor young women who excel and encourage them to obtain a college education and assume roles of leadership in their communities and professions. During the past 50 years, AJM has awarded $90 million in cash scholarships to more than 700,000 college-bound young women who have competed in the program, including Diane Sawyer, co-host of ABC's “Good Morning America” and co-anchor of “Primetime Thursday;” Deborah Norville, host of “Inside Edition;” E.D. Hill, an anchor on Fox News Channel's “Fox and Friends;” and Debra Messing, co-star of NBC's “Will & Grace.”

AJM's national sponsors are the City of Mobile, Mobile County, and the Mitchell Company. Category sponsors are Alabama Power, Encore Rehabilitation, Mobile Gas, Regions Bank, and Wintzell's Oyster House.

The University of South Alabama
Since its founding in 1963, the University of South Alabama has been one of Alabama’s fastest growing universities, currently enrolling more than 14,000 students in a wide range of academic programs in Allied Health Professions, Arts and Sciences, Mitchell College of Business, Computer and Information Sciences, Continuing Education and Special Programs, Education, Engineering, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The University has awarded 62,000 degrees.

In addition to teaching and research, USA is one of the largest health care providers in the Mobile region, with its faculty physicians and two hospitals – Children’s & Women’s and USA Medical Center ­­– involved in more than a quarter million patient encounters annually.

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