From college student to royalty: University of Iowa graduate crowned Miss Iowa

Recent UI graduate Morgan Kofoid won the title of Miss Iowa USA. Following her pageant duties, Kofoid will take her board exams and start her job as a full-time nurse.


Lauren White, News Reporter

Years after winning her first pageant as a 15-year-old in a borrowed prom dress, University of Iowa alum Morgan Kofoid was recently crowned Miss Iowa USA.

As a nursing major, Kofoid volunteered within the campus and Iowa City community with UI Health Care and the UI Student Leader Board.

Within the next couple of weeks, Kofoid will officially take her board exams and start her full-time nursing job at UI Hospitals and Clinics.

“I am super passionate about and raising awareness for ASL and heart health. I will be working in the cardiovascular unit of the hospital, and I think it is extremely rewarding,” Kofoid said. “I think it’s extremely important to have a healthy heart and to help those who don’t.”

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The pageant process was a big part of her life through her teenage and adult years, Kofoid said, and she recalls pageant weekends as some of her favorites during that season of her life. She learned to balance her education and Miss Iowa duties while maintaining her motivation for both, Kofoid added.

Her favorite part about pageantry is the sisterhood and confidence that the entire process brings, she said. Each weekend challenges everyone to be their best selves the entire time they are there, she emphasized.

“The most challenging aspect of the experience is teaching yourself that the pageant results don’t define who you are,” Kofoid said. “It is such a growing experience, because even if you don’t win you still take something home with you.”

One of Kofoid’s mentors while she was an undergraduate nursing student at the UI, instructional Lecturer Syeda Thomas, said she knew Kofoid to be a disciplined student throughout her college career.

“I was completely blown away that on Friday Morgan was fulfilling her role as a nursing student and on Sunday she was winning Miss Iowa,” Thomas said. “She is a shining example of how talented our nursing students are at the University of Iowa.”

Thomas added how honored she is to have watched Morgan evolve into a great nurse and that she has every positive attribute of a well-rounded nurse.

“Without question, she will make a positive difference in the lives of her patients,” Thomas said.

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Martina Hoogland, a fellow pageant friend of Kofoid’s, said that the main thing that stood out to her about the latest Miss Iowa was that she not only loves other people, but she also loves herself.

“As someone who has struggled with self-worth, it was so helpful to have someone building me up who I could also use as an example for how I should love myself. I used to walk into pageants and say, ‘Wow, all of these girls are beautiful,’ ” Hoogland said. “Morgan taught me that although that is true, I need to finish the sentence. It now goes something like this: ‘Wow, all of these girls are beautiful — but I am, too.’ ”

Hoogland said the community that surrounds pageants makes everyone involved grow very close to one another. In the long run, the contestants become amazing friends and sisters. Each one of them knows how hard it is to get up on stage, so everyone tends to support one another and build each other up, she said.

“Some common misconceptions that people believe about women that do pageants is that they aren’t smart or that they don’t have goals, but it is completely the opposite,” Kofoid said. “The Miss Iowa women are some of the most intelligent and driven people I have ever met, and I would not have traded the experience for the world.”