WEST VIRGINIA (WTRF) — An exuberant West Virginia crowd was cheering Berkeley County native and Miss West Virginia Elizabeth Lynch, December 15, as she was awarded third runner up in the Miss America pageant, reports WVRC.

Elizabeth Lynch

Lynch is a recent graduate of WVU with a Masters in Science. Her focus was in food and nutritional science, which was the topic of her social impact initiative, “Growing Up, Growing Ag: Advocating for Appalachian Agriculture.”

Her place in the competition won her a $15,000 scholarship.

Her duties as Miss West Virginia will include traveling the state and talking with young students.

She said to reporters that she didn’t want to use the position as a place of celebrity, but wants to encourage young women and girls. Lynch professed in her monologue that she believes that others shouldn’t put themself in a “little box.”

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Upon competition of her year of service through the Miss America pageant, she will continue her education with a PhD in animal science.

The winner of the 95th annual competition was Miss Wisconsin, Grace Stanke, 20, who is a student of the University of Wisconsin and studying nuclear engineering.