As Sydnee Stottlemyre sat in the audience watching a family friend compete in the Miss USA pageant, the 7-year-old was not only entranced by the glitz and the glam but also inspired by the women. She entered her first pageant a year later.
These days, Stottlemyre is the one doing the inspiring. On Oct. 4, 2015, the Chesterfield, Missouri, native was crowned Miss Missouri USA 2016. She also took home awards for the most photogenic and the best interview — not surprising for the senior journalism major.
“The interview was my favorite part,” says Stottlemyre, who has worked at KOMU and KBIA. “It was my opportunity to show them what I’ve been learning here.”
Originally focused on broadcast journalism, Stottlemyre recently switched her interest area to strategic communication. But using public relations, publicity and social media techniques aren’t new to Stottlemyre. When she was crowned Miss Missouri Teen USA 2011, she was already using social media to brand herself. In class, she’s learning how she can leverage that platform even more.
“Our generation is so used to being online all the time, but using it to spread your message is a very powerful thing,” Stottlemyre says.
The message Stottlemyre wants to spread? “You can have whatever you put your mind to,” she says. “I want to encourage people to chase their dreams and to not be scared of the greatness that can come from hard work.”
A Future in Law
And Stottlemyre is no stranger to hard work. In between classes, Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter meetings, volunteering with the nonprofit Warriors for Ross and making appearances as Miss Missouri USA, she is preparing for the Miss USA pageant and studying for the LSAT.
Stottlemyre’s dream, in addition to being crowned Miss USA 2016, is to go to law school. She enjoyed learning about defamation and incitement cases in Communication Law with Curators Teaching Professor of Journalism Sandra Davidson, BA ’68, MA ’73, JD ’82, and plans to focus on First Amendment law.
“I don’t know when that will happen though; life just got a whole lot crazier,” Stottlemyre says with a smile.