Campus Celebrity: Maggie Gehlsen

 

We are proud to introduce our last Campus Celebrity of the semester, Maggie Gehlsen. Maggie is a sophomore from De Witt, Iowa majoring in Kinesiology with a concentration in Nutrition. She's the youngest of five kids, loves Bruce Springsteen, American Horror Story, mangos, and granola. (Actual granola, that is.) Her whole family attended the University of Iowa and we graciously applaud her on her wise choice of UA, of course. She has been a dancer and baton twirler for 15 years and a Crimsonette for the past 2 years, as well as a proud sister of Alpha Delta Pi. She was the 2013 winner of Miss Sorority Row and this year's 1st Runner up for Miss UA. Besides getting through finals, Maggie's next move is competing for the title of Miss Iowa. Her other plans are to skydive within the next year. We are inspired by and admire Maggie's hard work along with her down to earth personality and wish her the best of luck this summer!

 

Hometown: De Witt, Iowa
 
Major/Minor: Kinesiology with a concentration in Nutrition
 
Class Year: Sophomore
 
Favorite experience at UA so far: "Definitely my first time performing as a Crimsonette in Bryant-Denny. It was the most terrifying and exciting experience of my life all in one. I will never feel that adrenaline anywhere else!"
 
 
Q: You won Miss Sorority Row, were a runner up for Miss UA, and will now be competing for Miss Iowa soon, how do you prepare? 
A: "A huge misconception about pageantry in general is that the women competing suddenly change everything they're doing to prepare for the next pageant. That's not true at all. Our prep is a part of our daily lives. We watch the news, we stay informed, we know our views, we study hard, we stay in shape, we eat healthy. All of those things are a part of what we doeveryday. Alongside what I just listed, for me, mentality is huge. I do yoga and meditate. Both of those keep me relaxed and help me to stay in a positive mindset. I also make time for things I enjoy that will benefit me in the pageant process, but aren't necessarily pageant related. For example, I really enjoy long walks, and I have this new vegan cookbook I really love that I make dishes from. Both of those things don't necessarily correspond with the competition process, but help me to stay healthy and happy. Oh, and coffee helps me a lot. "
 
Q: How did you get started competing in pageants? 
A: "It kind of just happened, really. I was 11, and my baton coach suggested I try and compete for Jr. Miss Clinton County. I competed, won, and advanced to the Jr. Miss Iowa Pageant. I didn't place that year, but I won talent, so naturally, I wanted to go back the next year. I ended up getting 1st Runner Up the following year. I began my journey in the Miss Iowa's Outstanding Teen Program after that, where I competed for three years, and in my final year was also 1st Runner Up. Now, I'm competing in the Miss division, and in February was First Runner Up to Miss University of Alabama, then in March was 1st Runner Up to Miss Cedar Valley (Iowa), and then in April, was crowned Miss Great River to advance to Miss Iowa in June (yes, 1st Runner Up and I have a relationship with one another) : )"
 
Q: What is a cause you deeply care for? 
A: "My current community service project (better known as a "platform") is entitled Take Back Our Campus: Sexual Assault Education & Prevention. When I was 15, I had my own experience with sexual assault. Since then, it's been a cause I've wanted to address, and the Miss America Organization has been the perfect vehicle to do so. I've been able to network with a lot of different people on this cause and spread awareness. Education is the biggest part; college students have a very misconstrued idea of what sexual assault actually is. My goal is to educate my peers on sexual violence with the hopes of ending it altogether. "
 
Q: What has your experience being in a sorority been like? 
A: "Absolutely remarkable. I pledged Alpha Delta Pi in August 2013. My sisters are intelligent, beautiful, selfless, outgoing, and unique in their own way. Coming from Iowa, it was important to me to choose a sisterhood that felt whole, caring, and connected. That's exactly was ADPi was. I am forever grateful for the lifelong friendships and the incredible opportunities ADPi has given me."
 
Q: What made you choose your major? 
A: "I've always been really interested in health and wellness. I've known since a young age I wanted to work in the healthcare field. I came in as a biology major, then changed to TCF for 2 semesters. Finally, I landed on Kinesiology (exercise science) and it felt perfect. My goal is to attend P.A. school and become a Physician's Assistant, then obtain my certification in Midwifery. My oldest sister Leah had a midwife and a home birth with her second son, Milo. Her midwife is a phenomenal person, so she really inspired my career goal."
 
Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you have free time?
A: "I love to blog, cook, and basically do any form of physical activity. Dancing is huge one for me. I'm also a huge movie and music buff (two of my siblings were film majors at Iowa, and my dad is an audio producer), so anything to do with movies and music is perfect for me."
 
Q: Overall, what are your life and career goals?
A: "Well, at this point in time, being Miss Iowa is my career goal right now, because that's exactly what it is: a job. In terms of life after college, I would love to attend P.A. school at the University of Iowa. I hope to one day have my own family, and be married and all that good stuff! Oh, and I want to learn how to balance everything like my mother." 
 
Q: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned at UA so far? 
A: "I think this semester particularly (but also in general during my time at UA), I've really learned the value of resilience. Life will certainly throw you some curveballs sometimes, and things aren't always going to pan out the way you want or planned them to. How you bounce back is the most important part. Changing your perspective, working hard, and staying humble will always assist in overcoming any situation life hands you."