Madison Stewart VarnerMiss Rankin County
Hometown: Brandon, MS
Social Impact Initiative Description: My initiative is dedicated to the awareness of mental health disorders of MS youth as well as the steps MS can take toward a better outcome for these individuals. Its focus is screening and treatment, education, and the elimination of stigmas.
Talent: Rap Medley from “Hamilton”
What college do you attend, or have attended, or will attend if High School graduating senior? The University of Mississippi – Graduate School
What is your major? Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program
List scholastic honors: Cum Laude graduate; Chancellor’s List; Dean’s List; Psi Chi International Psychology Honor Society; SMBHC Honors Student; AED Honor Society
What is your scholastic ambition? Psychologist, Ph.D.- Clinical Emphasis
Greatest non-academic accomplishment: I spent the summer of 2018 creating and implementing behavior treatment for children with ADHD, OCD, and CD. The hope for a better future that I was able to give the families motivates me still to this day.
What has been your greatest adventure? Please provide an answer outside of the Miss America program. My greatest adventure has been my education and the pursuit of becoming the best researcher and clinician I can be. It has been a whirlwind of emotions, prayers, and hard work; every moment has lead me right where I am today, and I am so thankful.
What trip shaped your life? Please provide an answer distinct from your social impact initiative. My trip to the state mental health facility in high school shaped me because on this field trip we were shown how patients with psychological disorders were “treated” in the not-so-distant past. I fell in love with the idea of providing high quality, compassionate care that day, and now I work towards that goal daily.
Use three (3) words to describe your greatest assets. Kindness, dedication, and trustworthiness
Are you a person of intelligence or of common sense? Intelligence
Who is the most influential person in your life other than your mother? My older brother – he taught me about Jonas Salk, philosophy and the impact of kindness.
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. I love to read. I was lead to this hobby by my mother and older brother who are both avid readers. My father also read to me when I was little. I also love to rock climb; when a climbing gym opened in Memphis, I tried it and fell in love!
Who is your most interesting relative and why? My most interesting relative is my sister, Katie, because she has a pervasive intellectual disability. Being her sibling has been a blessing. I have learned so much about forgiveness, acceptance, love, compassion and kindness because of her and the experiences I’ve had with her.
What is the best advice you have received and from whom? Please answer this question with information from outside of the Miss America program. My father always told me to be king to everyone, especially those who are not king to me because you never know what someone else is experiencing behind closed doors. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen how true that is.
What is your favorite quote? “Who owns this vaccine? The people, I would say. There is no patent. Could you patent the sun”? – Jonas Salk, creator of the polio vaccine, on why he chose not to patent. I feel the same way about Mindful Mississippi.
Who is your most influential mentor and why? Please answer this question with an individual from outside of the Miss America program. John Young, Ph.D., is my most influential mentor because he has taught me so much about providing quality clinical care, serving the community with research, and using knowledge to better the world around me. I could not have a better advisor as I work towards a Ph.D.
Other than being Miss Mississippi, what is your dream job? My dream job would be a clinical psychologist serving children and adolescents with a variety of psychological disorders. I hope to help parents, families and children reach their full potential in all areas of life.
What is the one thing about you that people you meet may not immediately realize? I’m incredibly good at painting! I have an art page on Facebook called “Wild Child – Art by MV,” where I do pet portraits and other commission pieces….maybe you could tell if you catch me in a paint covered t-shirt!
What success have you learned most from? Please answer this question with an experience outside of the Miss America program. The success I had during my summer in Miami working with the children and their families showed me that I was in the field where I was meant to be. I know the treatment I provided will carry them towards a brighter, happier future and I am so proud of them and for them.
What failure have you learned most from? Please answer this question with an experience outside of the Miss America program. I applied to be a guidance counselor for Ole Miss’s Summer Program for high school students, and I didn’t get the job. I was initially confused, but I was offered the internship in Miami that showed me so much about myself and my goals. When one odor closes, have faith that a better door is coming!
What is one important thing you have learned from being in the Miss America Program? Through Miss America, I have learned to be poised, calm, and collected. I have learned how to best present an idea succinctly and confidently.
If you are crowned Miss Mississippi, what do you want to accomplish during your Year of Service? I hope to see Mindful Mississippi implemented in schools across the state; after that, I hope to start working on bettering the systems for mental health care in the state for adults.
Is there a personal connection that made you pick your personal social impact project? As someone with an anxiety disorder that started when I was very young, I wish a program like Mindful Mississippi had promoted early intervention on my behalf.
When is your sense of humor most evident? My sense of humor is most visible in my writing. I make little jokes in my notes, in my papers and on my social media captions!
What historical figure best represents who you are striving to be? Jonas Salk, creator of the polio vaccine, because I want to serve selflessly and give my research away as he did.
What gadget can you not live without? My MacBook! All my research is there!
What is your favorite sport and sport team? Football – The Ole Miss Rebs, of course!