Grace Stanke (Miss America 2023): A Beauty Queen with a Nuclear Edge

Introduction of Grace Stanke:

In the heartland of America, where cornfields stretch for miles and small towns dot the landscape, emerged a young woman who shattered stereotypes and made history. Grace Stanke, a 20-year-old from Wausau, Wisconsin, is not your typical beauty queen. Crowned Miss America 2023 on December 15, 2022, she is not just a symbol of grace and poise but an advocate for clean energy and a passionate nuclear engineer. In this blog, we delve into the extraordinary journey of Grace Stanke, exploring her roots, her commitment to nuclear science, and the impact she aims to make during her reign as Miss America.

A Unique Path to the Crown:

Grace Stanke’s journey to the Miss America stage began at the tender age of 13, motivated by a desire to improve her violin skills and secure scholarship money. She started competing in scholarship-based pageants, initially in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen program, before transitioning to the Miss America system. Her dedication led her to win several local and state titles, culminating in her victory as Miss Wisconsin 2022. Stanke’s success was not just a result of her beauty but a testament to her talent and commitment to making a difference.

Nuclear Engineering and Ambitious Dreams:

What sets Grace Stanke apart is her dual identity as a beauty queen and a nuclear engineering student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest in nuclear science was sparked by her father, a civil engineer, who instilled in her a curiosity about how things work. Grace chose nuclear engineering as her major, firmly believing in the potential of nuclear power as a safe, reliable, and carbon-free energy source to combat climate change.

Breaking Stereotypes: Beauty and Brains:

As Miss America, Grace Stanke is not just a figurehead. She actively uses her platform to raise awareness about the benefits of nuclear power and promote other forms of clean energy. Stanke is a member of the American Nuclear Society and the Society of Women Engineers, advocating for more women to pursue STEM fields. Through her experiences, she aims to challenge stereotypes that limit the potential of women and inspire the next generation of female leaders and innovators.

From Violin to Nuclear Power: A Multifaceted Talent:

Grace Stanke’s interest in nuclear science was sparked by her father, who is a civil engineer. She said he taught her to be curious about how things work and to ask questions.

She also credits her involvement in pageants for developing her skills and confidence. She started competing as a local titleholder in the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen pageant circuit to improve her violin skills, which she has been playing since she was four years old.

She won several titles, including Miss Wisconsin’s Outstanding Teen 2017, and earned scholarship money along the way. She said she decided to compete in the Miss America system again after she turned 18 to continue her education.

She took part in the Miss Wisconsin 2021 competition as Miss Madison and made it to the semi-finals. She then won Miss Wisconsin 2022 on June 18, 2022, representing Badgerland. She performed a classical violin piece by Vivaldi for her talent, and spoke about her social impact initiative, “Powering the Future: Advocating for Clean Energy Sources”.

A Crown with a Cause: Powering the Future:

As Miss Wisconsin, Grace Stanke traveled around the state to promote her cause and to inspire young girls to pursue STEM fields. She said she wants to show them that they can be both smart and beautiful, and that they can make a difference in the world.

She also prepared for the Miss America 2023 competition, which was held on December 15, 2022, at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. She competed against 50 other women from across the country, and impressed the judges with her poise, personality, and intelligence. She won a preliminary talent award and a $2,500 scholarship for her violin performance, and answered questions about nuclear power and climate change during the interview and onstage question segments.

She was crowned Miss America 2023 by her predecessor, Emma Broyles, and received a $50,000 scholarship. She said she was overwhelmed and honored by the win, and thanked her family, friends, and supporters for their encouragement.

A Year of Service and Advocacy:

As Miss America, Grace Stanke will spend a year of service and advocacy, traveling across the nation and abroad to speak about her cause and to support various organizations and causes. She said she hopes to educate the public about the benefits of nuclear power and other clean energy sources, and to dispel some of the myths and fears surrounding them. She said she believes that nuclear power is the key to solving the global energy crisis and combating climate change.

She also plans to continue her studies and to pursue a career in nuclear engineering. She said she wants to work in the nuclear industry, and to contribute to the research and development of new technologies and innovations. She said she is interested in fusion energy, which is the process of combining atoms to release energy, and which has the potential to be a limitless and clean source of power.

She also wants to inspire the next generation of scientists and leaders, especially young women, to follow their dreams and passions. She said she wants to be a role model and a mentor for them, and to show them that they can achieve anything they set their minds to. She said she wants to prove that beauty and brains are not mutually exclusive, and that they can be a powerful combination.

Grace Stanke is a remarkable young woman who is breaking stereotypes and making history. She is the beauty and the brain behind the crown, and she is ready to make a positive impact on the world.

Clean Energy, Cleaner Future:

Grace Stanke’s social impact initiative is called “Clean Energy, Cleaner Future”, and it aims to encourage worldwide change for clean, zero-carbon emission energy sources. She believes that nuclear energy is the obvious path forward, as it is reliable, safe, and efficient. She also seeks to dispel the myths and fears around nuclear energy, such as the risks of radiation, waste, and accidents.

Grace Stanke has been passionate about nuclear energy since she was a teenager, when she learned about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. She was curious about what happened and why, and she decided to pursue nuclear engineering as a career. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2022, where she studied topics such as nuclear fuel enrichment and reactor performance.

As Miss America, Grace Stanke has been traveling the country to visit nuclear facilities, speak at events, and educate the public about nuclear energy. She has also been featured in various media outlets, such as PBS, Forbes, and Nuclear News. She hopes to inspire people to learn more about nuclear energy and support its development and expansion.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers:

Grace Stanke is also passionate about inspiring the next generation of engineers, especially girls and women. She knows firsthand the challenges and opportunities that come with being a woman in a male-dominated field, and she wants to empower others to pursue their passions and dreams.

Grace Stanke credits her father, a civil engineer, for sparking her interest in engineering and science. She grew up visiting construction sites, watching bridges get demolished, and doing hands-on experiments. She also developed a love for music and learned to play the violin at a young age. She believes that music and engineering are both creative and analytical, and that they complement each other.

As Miss America, Grace has been mentoring and encouraging young students, especially girls, to explore STEM fields and careers. She has been visiting schools, participating in science fairs, and hosting workshops. She has also been sharing her own story and journey, and showing that beauty and brains are not mutually exclusive.

A Role Model for Many:

Grace Stanke is a role model for many people, not only for her achievements and advocacy, but also for her personality and character. She is humble, gracious, and genuine. She is also resilient, determined, and ambitious. She has overcome many obstacles and challenges in her life, such as losing her mother to cancer when she was 16, and facing criticism and discrimination as a woman in engineering and as a nuclear advocate.

Grace Stanke is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in and to challenge the status quo. She is also not afraid to admit her mistakes and learn from them. She is always striving to improve herself and to make a positive impact on the world.

Grace Stanke is a remarkable woman who is using her Miss America crown to promote clean energy and STEM education. She is making history and making a difference. She is showing us that beauty is more than skin deep, and that we can all be agents of change.


In Grace Stanke, the world witnesses a remarkable young woman who defies expectations and challenges norms. As a nuclear engineer, a violinist, and an advocate for clean energy and STEM education, she exemplifies the idea that beauty is not confined to external appearances. Grace Stanke is a force for positive change, using her Miss America crown to propel her message of clean energy and inspire generations to come. In a world where stereotypes persist, she is a shining example of the potential that lies within individuals who dare to dream and make a difference.

Read about “Miss America 2024: Celebrating Beauty, Talent and HER Story“.

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