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Lauren Meehan
Junior Lauren Meehan, Miss New Hampshire 2000. Photo by Gary Samson

Biol 605,
Chem 547 and Pageants 425

Lauren Meehan had expected to return to UNH this fall to start her junior year as a premed student, but her plans took a detour in April when she was chosen to represent New Hampshire in this year's Miss America Pageant.

Meehan, a 19-year-old resident of Nashua, N.H., qualified for the statewide pageant by winning competitions at the local and regional levels. When she was called to step forward as the 54th Miss New Hampshire in the pageant finale, she was so stunned she almost fainted--literally. Fortunately, the other contestants were there to hold her up.

As the pageant winner, Meehan was awarded a $20,000 scholarship and a number of other prizes, including a new wardrobe and use of a new car for a year. But her victory also means that she has a full-time job, which requires her to take a break from her studies. She will be spending a month and a half in Atlantic City this fall preparing for the Oct. 14 Miss America pageant. After that, she plans to make appearances throughout the state to talk about the problems of children affected by attachment disorder.

Each Miss New Hampshire contestant was asked to select an issue important to her and to American society as a whole, which she would promote if she won the crown. Meehan's choice was based on her experience as a counselor at a YMCA camp, where she worked with a girl who had attachment disorder and was unable to bond with her adoptive parents.

After completing her year as Miss New Hampshire, Meehan plans to return to UNH, where she is majoring in cellular, molecular and developmental biology. Her goal is to become a doctor specializing in pediatric neurology.

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