By Kasy Long
Jun 15, 2022
Jenna Eltzroth had never competed in a beauty pageant before being crowned Miss Indiana State University in November 2021. On Saturday, the Sycamore junior will proudly represent the campus and her fellow classmates at the Miss Indiana pageant in Zionsville.
She considers both pageant experiences as opportunities of a lifetime.
After all, Miss Indiana – a Miss America Organization event – is much more than a beauty pageant. It offers opportunities for scholarships, networking, valuable life and career skill development, and community involvement. It also empowers advocates and leaders of tomorrow.
The pageant also gives Eltzroth a venue in which to showcase her talents and passions. On the pageant stage, she will perform a spoken-word monologue about the importance of travel.
“I live by the motto ‘to travel is to live,’” Eltzroth said. The Honors College student keeps a busy schedule; she is active in the Student Government Association, Pre-Physician Assistant Association, Timmy Global Health initiative, and Christian Student Fellowship. “It’s so easy to get caught up in academics and my career goals. I can forget to be spontaneous and live.”
The applied medicine student, who is pursuing a concentration in pre-medicine and a minor in massage therapy, hopes others will be inspired by her words of encouragement.
Eltzroth said she took a chance on competing in the Miss ISU competition and was delightfully surprised when her name was called as the 39th student to earn that title. It was her first competition experience.
Also representing Indiana State at this year’s Miss Indiana pageant is 2019 alumna Emilee Hunt, as Miss Wabash Valley.
The Miss ISU program has been an annual campus event since 1958. In 2021, the program awarded $3,750 in scholarships to the candidates, provided by Indiana State University Foundation, ISU Barnes & Noble Bookstore, Indiana State University Federal Credit Union, Indiana State University Panhellenic Association, and the Miss ISU Educational Fund.
“It is truly a fun event and when the students receive awards and recognition during the competition, it’s great to see them winning the scholarship money, as well,” said Freda Luers, director of campus life, who also directs the annual campus pageant.
Luers helped Eltzroth prepare for the different aspects of the Miss Indiana competition, including building her résumé with community service involvement, the appropriate pageant attire, and the fundamentals of walking on stage and down the competition’s runway.
As Miss ISU, Eltzroth represents the university at campus and Terre Haute community events. A native of Liberty Center, Indiana, Eltzroth volunteered with Special Olympics Indiana’s Summer Games and high school Distributive Education Clubs of America [DECA] programs, and she chose Diabetes Youth Foundation of Indiana as her social impact initiative. Her sister is diabetic, so Eltzroth—an aspiring cardiologist—has a passion for diabetic health awareness.
“I have enjoyed my responsibilities and service projects this year. I’m sad to see it end,” she said. “There is so much more personal growth in this [competition] than I ever anticipated. I will form connections with the other  candidates, and I want to be fully engulfed in the competition.”
Eltzroth is enjoying her opportunities to represent Indiana State on campus, within the community, and at the Miss Indiana competition.
“Hopefully, I represent Indiana State with utmost poise. The university means so much to me,” she said. “I’m proud to be representing Indiana State and the Sycamore spirit.”
After all, the competition is about more than just a tiara. It’s about inspiring others, embracing one’s individuality, and being a role model. Eltzroth has happily accepted these responsibilities.
No matter the outcome, she’s already the crowned winner in her heart — and in the hearts of her fellow Sycamores.
She’s Miss ISU.