Alumna Finds Her Purpose Inspiring Youth
Armstrong alumna and Miss South Carolina USA 2017, Megan Gordon (’16), entered her first pageant more than a decade ago with humble hopes of earning academic scholarships. Today, armed with a nursing degree and credits like Top 5 placement in last year’s Miss USA competition, she utilizes her expanded platforms to inspire young people across the country.
From the small town of North Augusta, South Carolina, Gordon was raised in a supportive environment, but pageant life was new to her family and friends. She was largely on her own as she waded into unfamiliar territory.
“No one in my family had ever done it,” Gordon remembered. “As an African-American, I didn’t know anyone doing it who looked like me. I couldn’t identify with anyone, but it’s something in your heart. You just step out on faith. And that’s what I did.”
Gordon won several local titles and earned enough money to assist with university studies. She had fallen in love with Savannah several years prior and knew of the stellar nursing program at Armstrong. Matriculating to campus in the fall of 2012, Gordon stayed focused on her studies and continued in the pageant circuit, picking up titles like the 2012 Distinguished Young Woman of Aiken County and Miss Southeast 2014.
During her sophomore year she set her sights on the Miss Collegiate America title in 2014, which would award a $10,000 academic scholarship with the crown. She won, and shortly thereafter she learned that she was accepted into the nursing program.
“The nursing program was very challenging,” she said. “To be accepted into it was a huge honor and big deal for me.”
Once in, her local clinical rotations revolved around children and women’s health. She also completed an externship at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia in Augusta, Georgia, and became an advocate for children with cancer and blood disorders. At the same time, modeling jobs rolled in and she traveled to speak to youth groups.
“Maybe the fact that I got through a rigorous nursing program and have won pageants, I can inspire other young girls,” she said. “Maybe I can reach an African-American girl, or girls of other ethnicities, who limit themselves. Maybe I can reach the person who says, ‘I’m from this small town in Georgia or South Carolina and there’s no way that I can do that.’ I know that my purpose is to show them that 100 percent they can. I’m a normal girl. If I can do it, they can too.”
In November, Gordon handed the Miss South Carolina USA 2018 crown to the new titleholder. In a surprise, the mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, named February 26 as ‘Megan Gordon Day’.
Her heart full, Gordon is focused on new business and modeling opportunities, but she remains committed to inspiring young people with her message of hard work and hope.
“I personally want to use my platform to advocate for other people and inspire them,” said Gordon. “I personally want to use my voice to uplift other people. Whether I am nursing at a hospital or modeling for a photo shoot, I know my purpose is to bring out the best in others. I want to inspire the people who are around me.”
— Melanie Simón