Courtney Stern ’15 Pursues the Crown for a Cause
February 15, 2013
Courtney Stern '15 was one of 16 contestants who participated in the Miss Boston/Miss Cambridge 2013 Pageant at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel on February 10th. The Emmanuel biology major competed to promote her platform, "Empowering Teens and Young Adults with Chronic Illnesses."
After being diagnosed with the first of several chronic illnesses at age 17, Stern noticed a lack of dialogue and programming for people in her age range who are dealing with the effects of their illnesses while trying to make major life transitions, such as starting college. Prior to her own diagnosis, Stern envisioned herself having a very different college experience.
"Until October of my senior year in high school, I wanted to be a music major," she said. "But this became more important."
A talented oboist, Stern elected instead to pursue her studies in the sciences, choosing Emmanuel because of its reputation in the field, its location in the heart of the Longwood Medical and Academic Area and its small class sizes. She is currently involved in the College's Science Living-Learning Community and is a teaching assistant in the chemistry lab.
Miss Boston 2013 was Stern's second pageant, having already competed in her hometown pageant, Miss Taunton, in October 2012. She walked away from both pageants with the honor of Miss Congeniality, which is voted on by the other contestants. Competition results aside, Stern noted that the pageant atmosphere is exciting and often unpredictable.
"You never know what's going to happen," she said, referring to her oboe breaking just before she took the stage during the talent portion of last week's competition.
She is also quick to refute criticism that these pageants are "just like 'Toddlers and Tiaras,' but with bigger people."
"The Miss America Organization is amazing," Stern said. "It has totally revamped its image and modernized itself to become the largest single scholarship provider for women in the world."
Stern hopes to win some of those academic scholarships, which will be useful after graduation from Emmanuel. She plans to continue her schooling to become a physician's assistant in pediatric orthopedics, a division she became interested in after shadowing the director of the sports medicine division at Boston's Children's Hospital. She has already created a website with tips to help teens and young adults manage their chronic illnesses, and hopes to expand her cause further when she competes in the Miss Middleboro pageant in March. From there, her ultimate goals are to compete in Miss Massachusetts and then Miss America, where she'd be able to promote her platform nationwide.
"All I need now is a crown," she said.