Pageantry and public health come together for Washington

As the school year winds down, FAMU doctoral candidate and reigning Miss Black Florida U.S. Ambassador Alexandria Washington’s year is just getting started.

The Miss Black U.S. Ambassador Program, which began in 2013, gives young, African-American women the opportunity to embark on a journey to serve as role models and a catalyst of change in their communities. The program also offers scholarship opportunities for the furthering of higher education.

After much needed encouragement from former Miss Black Florida U.S. Ambassador and FAMU alumna Kiaira Nixon and a grueling, in-depth application process, Washington was selected to succeed Nixon as Florida’s ambassador for the 2017-2018 year.

“I’m all about trying new things,” Washington said. “I took the leap and applied and now that I’ve been chosen, I just feel so blessed.”

Washington came to FAMU in 2009 after accepting an athletic scholarship from the Lady Rattlers softball team. Upon completion of her B.S. in Health Science in 2013 and subsequent master’s in Public Health in 2015, Washington is currently working toward a doctorate in Public Health.

Washington’s platform merges service and health in the form of a hashtag: #RepresentationMatters. Focusing on raising awareness of health inequities, leadership development seminars, and the promotion of leadership opportunities, Washington says having a seat at the table is only half of the battle.

“It’s not often that women of color and people of color are at the table,” Washington said. “So when you’re at the table, it’s important to help make decisions and let your voice be heard.”

As she prepares for the national competition and finishes another semester of doctoral studies towards her degree in public health, Washington shows no signs of slowing down. Balancing the two can prove challenging at times, but when her newfound passion meets her life’s purpose, any obstacle can be overcome.

“I’ve just found a way to intertwine everything that I’m doing,” Washington said. “One of the biggest things in public health are health disparities in poor communities, which happens when money isn’t allocated properly and equally. If I’m able to have a seat at the table and I use that seat to help relieve some of these disparities, that’s what it’s all about for me.”

The Miss Black USA Scholarship Pageant will take place from July 16 to July 23 and will be the first black pageant held at Disney World in Orlando, FL.

If you would like to support Washington in her pageant-related endeavors, visit her GoFundMe page for more information.