Jessie BesansonMiss Rhythm and Blues
Hometown: Carriere, MS
Social Impact Initiative Description: The purpose of my Social Impact Initiative is to give Mississippi residents the tools they need to improve their lifestyle and health. I strive to take Mississippi from being ranked last in the nation for health to first. My goal is to make our state the standard for the rest of the world to follow.
What college do you attend, or have attended, or will attend if High School graduating senior? Mississippi State University
What is your major? Biochemistry, Pre-Medicine Concentration, Certificate in Medical Humanities
List scholastic honors: Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholar; Shackoul’s Honors College Member; Phi Theta Kappa, & Dr. William Lewis Honors Institute
What is your scholastic ambition? Graduate from UMMC with a Doctorate of Medicine
Greatest non-academic accomplishment: Winning four MHSAA State Dance Championship Titles.
What has been your greatest adventure? Please provide an answer outside of the Miss America program. Navigating college!
What trip shaped your life? Please provide an answer distinct from your social impact initiative. In 2014, I traveled to Arlington, Texas and worked for a week with the group “Mission Arlington.” This trip opened my eyes to the extensive needs of people of all ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds. It showed me that there is more need in this nation than many realize and how easy it can be to meet those needs and change someone’s life.
Use three (3) words to describe your greatest assets. Leadership, Organization, & Creativity.
Are you a person of intelligence or of common sense? Intelligence
Who is the most influential person in your life other than your mother? Leisha Waguespack and Kara Fleming (they are sisters that come as a team). They have poured into me, encouraged me, and have taught me so much about life!
What are your 2 favorite hobbies and what led you to them? Participation in the Miss Mississippi program is not considered a hobby for this question. Watching surgeries in the operating room and dancing. I have been enrolled in dance classes since I was two, so the love of dance is something I have naturally developed over the years. However, my love of surgery is something that began as me watching YouTube videos of simple procedures and has progressed into one of my favorite things because I have had the opportunity to sit in on some amazing ones in person recently.
Who is your most interesting relative and why? My Pawpaw. He is a veteran, he was a cowboy at one point, he has lived many places and has the best stories, and I am positive he can do anything. He also is a FANTASTIC at crochet and leatherworking.
What is the best advice you have received and from whom? Please answer this question with information from outside of the Miss America program. Kara Fleming gave me the advice to always take compliments and say thank you. People often disagree with a compliment when it’s given to them & not only does it invalidate the complementor’s feelings, but the person being complimented misses out on a sweet word too. She taught me the importance of appreciating a compliment!
What is your favorite quote? “In order to be irreplaceable, one must be different.” Coco Chanel
Who is your most influential mentor and why? Please answer this question with an individual from outside of the Miss America program. Dr. Gregory Childrey. He has taught me many valuable life lessons, a wealth of knowledge of medicine, and most importantly, what it means to be an attentive and involved physician.
Other than being Miss Mississippi, what is your dream job? Surgeon General of the United States of America!
What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? Many people assume that I would play basketball because of my height, but I cannot even shoot a good layup.
What success have you learned most from? Please answer this question with an experience outside of the Miss America program. Being accepted into the Mississippi Rural Physician’s Scholarship Program has afforded me the opportunity to shadow amazing doctors, learn about rural healthcare, and attend symposiums that have given me a greater knowledge and understanding of the need for more rural physicians in Mississippi.
What failure have you learned most from? Please answer this question with an experience outside of the Miss America program. Making a poor grade in Organic Chemistry II has taught me the value of hard work and not putting so much pressure on myself to be perfect. Life goes on and I will just try even harder next time!
What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss America Program? I can do anything I set my mind to.
If you are crowned Miss Mississippi, what do you want to accomplish during your Year of Service? My goal as Miss Mississippi and for my life, is to move Mississippi from being ranked last in the nation for health to being ranked first.
Is there a personal connection that made you pick your personal social impact project? I was diagnosed with a thyroid tumor in 2012 at a yearly physical. Thanks to my doctor’s early detection, I was able to get the tumor removed before I experienced any symptoms. Preventative health screenings have played a huge role in my life and my family’s especially when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. Again, early detection allowed my mother to undergo a double mastectomy and she is now cancer free. My goal is to educate people everywhere on how they can take steps to prevent illness and disease to be the healthiest versions of themselves.
When is your sense of humor most evident? When things are not going as planned!
What historical figure best represents who you are striving to be? Marie Curie, the first person and only woman to win the Noble Prize twice and in different scientific fields for her pioneering research on radioactivity. I want to shatter glass ceilings like she did.
What gadget can you not live without? My Apple Watch
What is your favorite sport and sport team? Football, The New Orleans Saints