Miss Iowa packs her year of service full

From UI student to Miss Iowa, Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw has made an impact during her few months as Miss Iowa.

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Miss Iowa packs her year of service full

Miss Iowa rides in Corvette in front of Old Cap during the Homecoming Parade on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Miss Iowa rides in Corvette in front of Old Cap during the Homecoming Parade on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

David Harmantas

Miss Iowa rides in Corvette in front of Old Cap during the Homecoming Parade on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

David Harmantas

David Harmantas

Miss Iowa rides in Corvette in front of Old Cap during the Homecoming Parade on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Alexandra Skores, News Reporter

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Mikhayla Hughes-Shaw, Miss Iowa 2018, may have walked out empty-handed in the Atlantic City Miss America pageant, but she has not stopped being an active role model in Iowa.

“The past few months have been amazing,” Hughes-Shaw, a former University of Iowa journalism student, said in an email to The Daily Iowan. “I officially have been Miss Iowa for four months, and I want time to stop passing so quickly. This year is a year of many firsts.”

She said in her email that the month of September was busy with events regarding suicide awareness and prevention. She has worked closely with her organization, How About HOPE (Helping Others and Providing Encouragement), working to combat the notion that people should shy away from talking about suicide, she said.

“I have been formulating a plan and board of directors for the How About HOPE campaign,” she said. “I am working on a school tour to reach as many students as possible. Mental health affects all ages. It is important to equip students with tools to help them recognize when someone needs help.”

Miss Iowa Scholarship Board President Rachael Vopatek said in an email to the DI that Hughes-Shaw has done great things for the state and knows her year of service will allow her to take more great action.

“Mikhayla is 100 percent devoted to giving of her time and talents to others,” Vopatek said in her email. “She has already spoken to numerous groups throughout the state of Iowa, and she is always seeking out the next person or audience she can teach to make a difference.”

RELATED: After Miss America, Miss Iowa looks forward to a year of service to the state

Hughes-Shaw recently spoke at the Iowa City Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk.

“Mikhayla has been a great partner in bringing awareness to the issue of suicide. Her courage to travel across Iowa and tell her story is truly inspiring,” said Keri Neblett, part of the Out of the Darkness organizing committee, said in an email to the DI. “I am grateful that she was able to attend the Out of the Darkness Walk for Suicide Prevention and bring hope to those affected by suicide.”

Hughes-Shaw also supported Apricot Lane Boutique in Davenport in a small fashion show on Fox 18 Davenport.

“When Mikhayla steps in a room, she has the ability to illuminate the hand and bring a pleasant vibe to anyone she comes in contact with,” said André Wright, a producer of Unique Alleyway Shows, in an email to the DI. “It was important to have her there so that young girls that live in our community can see that they also can achieve greatness.”

Hughes-Shaw said she hopes to continue her year of service with more and more events all over Iowa. She has made appearances at HERO lodge, a facility that serves as a getaway for veterans, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Walk, and the UI Homecoming Parade.

Hughes-Shaw will also participate in a “Treasure Box U.S.” tea party at the Knights of Columbus in Davenport on Nov. 10.

“This year is one of great variety,” Hughes-Shaw said. “I never know what the next day will bring, and I love it.”

RELATED: UI student, newly crowned Miss Iowa, advocates for suicide awareness