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2023 Mr. and Miss American Indian OSU Caleb Garcia and Shaeleigh McGee present the crown to 2024 winner Lauren Branham.

2024 Miss American Indian OSU crowned

Monday, April 15, 2024

Media Contact: Jordan Bishop | Editor, Department of Brand Management | 405-744-7193 |

Lauren Branham, a junior studying natural resources ecology and management with a focus in fisheries and aquatic ecology, was recently crowned Miss American Indian Oklahoma State University 2024. Branham is a member of the Muscogee and Euchee nations.

The pageant was held at the Stillwater Community Center on April 6. 

Despite her initial hesitations and lack of pageant experience, Branham was driven by a desire to represent her tribal nations and advocate for her platform: food and land sovereignty. This platform is centered on ensuring tribal access to traditional plants, medicines and sustainable land management practices in the face of climate change.

“I want to do child outreach within colleges and natural resources,” Branham said. “I feel like natural resources are capped in the state of Oklahoma in terms of education. I didn’t know I wanted to do natural resources until I got to college, because you don’t think of things like that when you’re in school. It’s usually a doctor or scientist.”

Branham aspires to collaborate with OSU’s Greenhouse Learning Center or the Botanical Garden. Her vision includes enhancing their displays of native plants and potentially establishing a medicine garden featuring plants significant to the various tribes represented on campus.

Branham also volunteers with the Euchee Butterfly Project, an organization that provides resources for pollinator conservation. This initiative aligns with her platform’s emphasis on land sovereignty and the preservation of traditional ecological knowledge.

“If tribal nations can get certain animals under their care for conservation, they can become federally protected rather than just state or locally protected,” Branham said.

The Native American Student Association, which Branham is a part of, hosts a monthly lunch. Branham encourages other students to learn about NASA and consider participating in the Miss American Indian OSU pageant.

“Definitely do it and think about it,” Branham said. “But don’t put too much thought into it. I was so nervous, but you’re surrounded by people you know and have supported you throughout the year. I’m good friends with the person I ran against now.”

Story By: Mak Vandruff |

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