Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

“You can achieve anything. The sky is not the limit and the only person that’s stopping you is you.” Powerful and inspirational words, right? Considering the source, the words take on an even greater meaning. Those are the words of a recently “crowned” pilot and second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. But, there’s so much more to learn. Check out 4 things to know about Miss America- Harvard grad student, Madison Marsh, right here.

If Barbie was a real life person, she would be Madison Marsh. Marsh was crowned Miss America on January 14, 2024. The 22 year old serves our country in the Air Force. Interestingly, she is the first active duty Air Force officer ever to hold this national title. When she isn’t flying and competing in pageants, Marsh is studying public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Well, I feel like a slacker.

So Much To Know

In the Miss America competition, Madison represented the state of Colorado. According to The Guardian, she opted to compete in beauty pageants her first year in the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. The officer believed it would give her more opportunities to take part in community service. Not only that, but she knew it would be a great platform to improve her public speaking skills,.

So, let’s talk about Harvard. The highly acclaimed Ivy League university in Cambridge, Massachusetts is now where you will find Ms. Marsh. She told the Harvard Crimson, ““I’m trying to take that background of my cancer research and applying that to the policy degree — trying to translate it to make sure that we’re enacting policy that’s equitable for all patients.” And the reason Madison is so passionate about cancer research is because she lost her mother to pancreatic cancer when she was just 17 years old. Madison started a nonprofit in her mother’s honor and name, The Whitney Marsh Foundation.

Below, you will find 4 other interesting facts about our newly crowned Miss America!





  • 1. She's from Fort Smith, Arkansas

    Although Madison Marsh won Miss Colorado and competed in the Miss America pageant represented Colorado, she didn’t grow up there. Marsh attended the Air Force Academy in the Rocky Mountain State. But Fort Smith Arkansas is where she grew up.

  • 2. Space Camps piqued her interest in flying and the military

    As mentioned in a Maxwell Air Force Base article,  Marsh was encouraged by her parent to pursue her dreams of flying. They sent her to Space camp when she was just 13 years old. Being around astronauts and fighter pilots only pushed the teenager further told her goals.

  • 3. She holds a black belt in Taekwondo

    As if being a pilot in the U.S. Airforce, attending Harvard and winning Miss America weren’t enough…Don’t mess with Madison Marsh. She holds a black belt in taekwondo. And she says she enjoys practicing martial arts in her spare time. (Probably when most of us are watching Netflix).

    Here she is in her crowning moment:

  • 4. Her talent in the pageant was spoken word

    Madison chose to perform via spoken word in the Miss America competition. Her talent  was spoken word, and she talked about getting her pilot’s license at age 16. Her passion, energy and ability to connect through spoken word was truly impressive. Find her speech :24 seconds into THIS VIDEO. 

    I’m 16 years old and I, alone, must rely on my training, instinct and determination,” exuberantly declared Marsh in her talent speech. She went on to say, “Whether I’m seated in the cockpit, or standing in my crown, I know the sky is NOT the limit.” 

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