MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — A West Virginia University graduate and Martinsburg native finished as third runner-up to Miss America 2023.

Grace Stanke from Wisconsin was crowned Miss America.

According to a press release from the Miss West Virginia Organization, Elizabeth Lynch was the second-ever Miss West Virginia to make the top five at the Miss America Competition. The last time a West Virginian placed in the top five was in 1965 when Elle Dee Kessel, who later became First Lady Dee Caperton, was named second runner up.

Lynch graduated summa cum laude from Delaware State University and she recently graduated with a Master of Science in Food and Nutritional Science from West Virginia University.

During the competition, she advocated on behalf of the agriculture industry, telling the audience about the industry’s responsibility for feeding 8 billion people globally each day.

According to the release, Lynch is planning on putting her $24,500 in scholarship earnings to good use when she enters a Ph.D. program next fall.

“My two goals were to put West Virginia out there in a positive light and to finish paying for my education,” she said in the release. “Everything else and beyond was icing on the cake!”

Lynch has researched soil, air, and water quality in Belize for an internship, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, she made masks and raised $7,500 for Horses with Hearts, which provides equine-assisted therapy opportunities, and has served as a keynote speaker for r the West Virginia State Farm Bureau Convention, where she speaks to students in schools all across the Mountain State about its career opportunities, the release said.