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NMSU kinesiology student wins Miss New Mexico 2019 pageant

Misa Tran, the recently crowned Miss New Mexico 2019, is an undergraduate athletic training major at New Mexico State University’s Department of Kinesiology and Dance, with plans to use her platform as a way to help veterans and first responders and the Children’s Miracle Network.


Woman wearing a crown standing
Misa Tran, an undergraduate kinesiology major at New Mexico State University, was recently crowned Miss New Mexico 2019. She will participate in the Miss America pageant in 2020. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)
Woman studying at a table
Misa Tran, an undergraduate kinesiology major at New Mexico State University, was recently named Miss New Mexico 2019. She is a kinesiology student at New Mexico State University and is applying for the kinesiology department’s athletic training program. (NMSU photo by Josh Bachman)

Tran, who was born in Albuquerque and raised in Alamogordo, is also applying to NMSU’s athletic training program with hopes of one day working at the high school or collegiate level. She was inspired to attend NMSU by her high school’s athletic trainer, David Maldonado.

“He had recently graduated from NMSU, so he was brand new in the profession and had just become certified,” Tran said. “The spark that he had inside of him for his profession was very inspiring. I knew I wanted to be an athletic trainer, but after seeing what NMSU has done for him and his career, I knew this was where I wanted to come.”

Tran said her pageant journey began during her freshman year at Alamogordo High School. She participated in Miss America’s Outstanding Teen program, which is considered the “little sister” of Miss America. After competing in the Outstanding Teen program for a couple of years, she took a two-year break to focus on her senior year of high school and her freshman year of college.

“This has been my first year back to compete in Miss New Mexico and I won my first time around,” Tran said. “Overall, I’ve been really inspired by the community service aspect. I’ve always been very involved in the community. I worked a lot with my church throughout high school.”

Tran said when her name was announced as Miss New Mexico 2019, she was shocked and immediately dropped to her knees crying on stage.

“I honestly blanked out. I don’t really remember much, so when I look back at that video (of the crowning), it’s really exciting to see my reaction,” she said.

Tran described her crowning moment as “incredible,” but said among the most important lessons she’s learned during her journey to the Miss America crown is never give up, and recognize the loved ones who have provided support along the way.

As part of Miss America’s social impact initiative, Tran will be working with Operation Gratitude, an organization that provides care packages to deployed U.S. service members, veterans, first responders, recruit graduates, military children and wounded service members and their caregivers. Tran grew up in a military family.

“That will be really fun, because I know that would have been really exciting to receive growing up when my dad was deployed,” Tran said.

Tran will also be working with hospitals affiliated with the Children’s Miracle Network.

“She has been an exceptionally professional student and a great representative for the Department of Kinesiology and Dance,” said NMSU kinesiology professor Joseph Berning.

As she prepares for the Miss America 2020 pageant, Tran is also busy with her studies. She is enrolled in a summer course that will help qualify her for the NMSU athletic training program, and already has her eye on graduate school. She said after being inspired by her high school’s athletic trainer to attend NMSU, she has fallen in love with the kinesiology department and its faculty.

“What keeps me here is the faculty,” Tran said. “The quality of teaching that I’ve received from the kinesiology department in particular is impeccable. The faculty truly cares about you as an individual and they make sure that you’re working hard so that you can succeed.”