Reigning Miss Huntington Kara Mawhorter will compete in the Miss Indiana pageant in Zionsville June 20-23.
Mawhorter, who is from Whitley County and graduated from Columbia City High School, is a senior at Ball State University.
She is majoring in speech pathology, with a minor in psychology. She maintains a 3.89 grade point average.
Mawhorter plans to graduate in December 2012, which means she will complete her four-year degree in just three and a half years.
She says she is very studious and follows in the footsteps of the rest of her family.
After graduation she will attend graduate school, hoping to earn a master's degree in speech pathology.
Mawhorter says she has always wanted to compete in a pageant.
"I waited to compete until I was grown-up enough to be a role model," she adds.
She started at Ball State, where she competed in the Miss Ball State University pageant and earned fourth runner-up.
Then she competed for the title of Miss Huntington, which she won in March 2012.
Since being crowned, she says her best experiences have been the "opportunities to give back to the community."
Mawhorter says she most enjoyed the chance to work with Habitat for Humanity during Women Build Week.
As far as preparing for the state competition, she has been busy.
"I am nervous. I have never been to it before and I don't know anyone that will be there," she says.
She says she is anxious to see her hard work pay off, though.
For the past 12 weeks, Mawhorter has been working out one to two hours per day. She has been practicing her talent, an Italian opera piece, and keeping up with current news stories from around the globe.
As a Ball State student, she was traveling from Muncie to Huntington and back two times per week to take voice lessons and make appearances as Miss Huntington until school let out in May.
All the preparation will hopefully pay off in the many levels of competition.
Mawhorter will be interviewed, perform her talent, answer on-stage questions and compete in the evening gown and swim suit competitions.
If she wins, she says she will look forward to "impacting people's lives."
If she is crowned Miss Indiana, she says she will have to delay her graduation to devote time to being Miss Indiana and preparing for the Miss America pageant.
"I will volunteer myself to be a leader, because it is hard for young girls to find female role models," she says.
That goes hand in hand with her platform, "Girls Rock," a program she created to promote high self-esteem and positive body image in young girls.
Mawhorter says the platform is close to her heart because her younger sister was teased a lot as a young girl.
"I think the problems young girls face start very young, and we need to address that," she says.
To support this platform, she created a blog, which can be found at www.misshuntington2012-girlsrock.blogspot.com.
Anyone interested can also follow Mawhorter's updates at her personal blog, www.misshuntington2012.blogspot.com.
In addition to competing at the pageant, Mawhorter is up for the People's Choice award online at www.missindianapageant.com/peopleschoice/peopleschoice.
Anyone can vote for her there by offering a donation to the pageant.