What does Miss California 2009 runner-up and UC Davis student Jenna Harvey hope for other than world peace?
“That was going to be my answer!” Harvey said. “Other than world peace, I’d say people need to have realistic expectations, get up and do something.”
The Miss California contest took place in Fresno on June 27. Kristen Cavender of Orange won the Miss California title. Over 50 counties were represented in the contest.
This was Harvey’s third trip back to Miss California, representing Silicon Valley. She became involved with pageants in 2004 when she won Miss Stanislaus County at the age of 17. Harvey was a premedical student, majoring in communication, with minors in music and neurobiology, physiology and behavior.
Harvey would like to apply to medical school next year after taking the MCAT exam. Her goals have pediatrics in sight.
Though Harvey walked in June’s graduation, with so much scholarship money from the competition, she is hoping to return to school in the fall to study part time.
Harvey acquired between $15,000 and $17,000 worth of scholarship money from Miss America, and $4,500 in 2009.
She is currently teaching piano, assisting her 96-year-old great grandmother and looking for an extra job. Harvey will go to Hoopeston, Illinois on Aug. 31 to compete with other runner-ups from each state in the Miss America contest. She says it is another opportunity for more scholarship money.
Harvey says the Miss California contest stands apart from the others in that the talent portion is a huge part of the overall score – 35 percent. The competition focuses on how each contestant carries herself rather than simply having a stick-thin figure.
Harvey won the top interview this year and preliminary talent for piano.
She calls the program phenomenal, saying it gives her a reason to practice piano, stay healthy and stay updated on current events.
“It’s not so hard to balance academics and the competition,” Harvey said. “It’s so easy to be narrow minded and think school, school, school all the time.”
In the Miss California system each contestant must adopt a platform with an issue the candidate is familiar with or interested in. Harvey chose global volunteerism because of her experience with community service. “Volunteering in Romania and Costa Rica opened my eyes,” Harvey said. “People were so impoverished and couldn’t help themselves. This inspired me to start 30 Ways in 30 Days.”
30 Ways in 30 Days is a program still in the development stages that will list 30 different ways to volunteer. The goal is to help people learn where to start their service. Some may include work in retirement homes, children’s hospitals and events through the Davis premed group, American Medical Student Association. Harvey also created a musical instrument loan program in Yolo County called Instrumental in Developing Young Musicians. The program gives students who cannot afford an instrument of their own an opportunity to receive an instrument on loan. They can keep it for the school year and continue with the music program.
Sally Reeder, a boardmember of the Donald A. Strauss Foundation, supported Harvey in her endeavors. The foundation provides a $10,000 service scholarship granted to a student who must make an impact in our community.
Harvey raised 40 instruments for various schools.
“Jenna is a delightful young woman,” Reeder said. “She is multitalented and has an incredible heart. She will go far because she has the desire and ability.”
Junior genetics major, Miss Napa, and fellow Miss California contestant Tiffany Flossman, said “We both worked on the dumb blonde stereotype. We both want to be doctors and really clicked.”
Flossman says she is sad that Harvey did not get the top prize, but is glad that the two will be competing together again next near.
ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached email@example.com.