Miss Montana 2018 spreads a message of “movement” to schools across the state.
Lauren Haller, 25, visited Corvallis High School in her tiara and sash on Monday. As perhaps the oldest Miss Montana, she shared some larger life experiences than past royalty.
Haller was born and raised in Helena, graduated from Boise State University in health and medical sciences with a minor in dance, traveled as a professional dancer around the world on a cruise ship and entered the world of pageantry to earn scholarship money for medical school.
Haller had two messages based on the word movement with her talk “Own Your Movement.”
“I’m passionate about movement – physical movement, getting active,” she said. “The second definition of movement is a group of people working together to advance their shared ideas and beliefs.”
She loved the cruise ship tour because she woke up in a different country every day.
“During my time at sea, I traveled to over 30 countries worldwide, across Europe, Russia, North Africa, South America, the Netherlands and the Caribbean,” Haller said. “Every cruise had an entertainment team and the cruise I was on had eight performers. I was selected at a national audition.”
Haller showed a home movie of her wanting to be a dancer at about age 5, video of her dance routines on the cruise ship and some of the sights on her world tour.
“It is a bit challenging to dance on a cruise ship due to the rocking motion of the boat,” she said.
Studying dance since age 5, Haller danced for the talent portion of competition at Miss Montana and Miss America pageants.
She won the talent award at both of these competitions but is most proud of being the first Miss Montana to win the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) award at the Miss America competition.
Her goal is to become a physician, most likely in the field of women’s health.
To explain the second definition of movement she asked students who were involved in 4-H, FFA, Interact and other school organizations who share ideas and beliefs.
Many hands went up.
“It is nice to see that a lot of you are already involved,” Heller said. “Let’s tie this all together. Moving, physically, is crucial to fulfilling your movement in life. You have to be healthy and active so you can pursue your goals, dreams and passions.”
She talked about “Race for the Cure” and how it raises funds for research to stop cancer. She showed a photograph of the finish line.
“These people are literally running for their cause,” she said. “I’m a dancer but also a marathon runner and triathlete. Of course being from Montana I love getting into the out of doors.”
Her main movement as Miss Montana is advocating for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Between travels across the state to share her message of movement Haller volunteers at Shodair Children’s Hospital in Helena. The hospital focuses on two efforts — genetics research and mental and behavioral health. Heller researches in the genetics lab and teaches dance and movement to patients.
“The reason I’m so involved is to reach my personal goal of becoming a medical doctor,” she said. “There are many steps you need to take before even applying to medical school.”
Patient exposure, clinical hours and research hours are things she is working on during her year as Miss Montana. She has also been on two medical mission trips to Nicaragua.
“That experience solidified that becoming a doctor is my movement in life,” she said.
After her presentation students were encouraged to ask questions. Questions included:
Which was her favorite country to visit?
“Greece, because the weather is warm and they put feta cheese on everything and ‘everything is beta with feta.’”
What was life on the cruise ship like?
“The crew lived on the interior of the ship in crowded quarters, not glamorous, but it gave us incentive to go out at port and explore.”
Where will she go to med school?
“I don’t know yet, wherever I’m accepted, hopefully the University of Washington because they have a really great program through Montana that makes is more affordable and more accessible for Montana students.”
What would she change as Miss Montana?
“Being Miss Montana is a lot of road time and some of it is unnecessary road time,” she said. “It is limiting how much time I’ve been able to be at Shodair. I would change that.”
Does she like wearing the crown?
“It is growing on me now that I have it down to an exact science where it takes five bobby pins. My term as Miss Montana is coming to an end I’m sad to part with it. I get to keep the crown but I don’t get to wear it in public anymore.”