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Former Miss OSU Tatum Shelton crowns new Miss OSU Katelyn Woods on Thursday night in the Student Union Theater.
Former Miss OSU Tatum Shelton crowns new Miss OSU Katelyn Woods on Thursday night in the Student Union Theater.

Woods crowned 2024-25 Miss OSU

Monday, January 29, 2024

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

The tenets of the Miss Oklahoma State University pageant match those of Miss America: style, service, scholarship and success. Last Thursday in the Student Union Theater, judges decided Katelyn Woods checked all of the boxes.

Woods, a strategic communications senior from Lawton, Oklahoma, has competed in pageants since high school. She felt she wasn’t experienced enough to move on to the Miss OSU pageant when she came to college, so she took a break from pageant life and got involved in different OSU clubs, activities and organizations. 

“That’s what encouraged me to do it,” Woods said. “I felt like I already represented OSU with or without the crown.”

To prepare for a pageant like this, the delegates practiced mock interviews, walking patterns and their talents. The Miss America program recently reintroduced the fitness section of the competition, so the delegates had to add those walking patterns to their repertoire.

Woods said the most essential part of her own preparation was her self-confidence. She knew she would only have a shot if she believed in her abilities, and after winning both the talent section and the title, it was evident she had built her trust in herself entirely. 

“The most memorable part was standing up on that stage during the fight song,” Woods said. “I’ve been dreaming about throwing the ‘Go Pokes’ up with the crown on my head forever.”

Although the delegates in pageants often try to be the picture of perfection up on the stage, sometimes things backstage can go awry. Woods said she managed to fall over a clothing rack, which was unexpected. However, she also said everyone had fun and created a support system with each other, and even created TikToks together.

“It was fun to do silly, goofy things with them,” Woods said. “We’ve all become actual friends, and what makes the college pageant so cool is that we all go to the same school, so I get to continue to see them.”

The women don’t just compete for the fun of it. They also do it to make a difference in their communities and win scholarships. Some women will use their platform to create awareness for different issues, build volunteer organizations, or even make a new curriculum. This year’s Miss OSU pageant offered a $1,500 scholarship to the winner, $1,000 to the first runner-up and $500 to the second runner-up. 

One of the event organizers, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Aleigha Mariott, said the vital pieces of these pageants are students' abilities to get scholarships and spark change. 

“Being a land-grant institution, it’s an easy connection to the community service we focus on,”  Dr. Mariott said. “Giving back is land-grant, and that’s one of the core pieces of the pageant. 

Woods’ initiative is “Don’t Stand By, Be Kind.” It celebrates diversity, empathy and deliberate acts of kindness. She plans to implement the program on campus through clubs, organizations and the Greek Life committee. She hopes to open incoming students to all of the places people can be a part of on campus outside of fraternity and sorority life and bridge the gap between high school and college. 

“I’m getting my master's on scholarship next year because of the Miss OSU pageant,” Woods said. “They’re giving us money in order to go to school, which is amazing. My dream is to get my master’s at OSU, so I’m thankful for that.

“To end on a high note, I’m ready for the job of Miss OSU. I promise I’m not going to let anyone down, even though I have some big shoes to fill. I’m going to give this my all and have the best year ever. I’m excited to represent the best university in Oklahoma.”

Story By: Mak Vandruff |

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