Miss NIBROC 2016 Makenna Thibodeaux earned her second career pageant title, as the senior biology major was named Miss University of Louisville Sunday night, earning the chance to compete in the Miss Kentucky Pageant.
Thibodeaux, the daughter of Heather Yeager and Jared Thibodeaux, graduated from Corbin High School in 2016.
She enrolled at the University of Louisville where eh has been studying biology with the intention of going on to dental school.
“I have been working on school and education, so, before I spend the next four years in dental school, I thought I should do one more pageant,” Thibodeaux said.
“I thought it was going to be very difficult after so much time away, but I was really comfortable up there,” she said.
While the evening gown and swimsuit competitions were familiar, Miss University of Louisville included a talent competition.
“I realized my talent is science,” she said. “Sometimes a lot of women discredit themselves. I decided to embrace exactly what I’m good at.”
With that in mind, Thibodeaux performed an experiment where she mixed two different chemicals in order to create a glow. With the house lights turned down, she ran the chemicals through tubes spelled out “U of L,” though the glow was blue.
Thibodeaux said with so many young girls in the audience, she hopes her experiment will show them that the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics are career options for them, particularly if that is where their talent lies.
“I want them to see that you can be part of the STEM field,” Thibodeaux said.
Thibodeaux said she will be using her title to focus on individuals with Down Syndrome a genetic disorder that results in a lower IQ, slower speech, and altered physical features.
Each year, approximately 6,000 babies are born in the United States with Down Syndrome.
“I have a brother with Down Syndrome, so raising awareness is something I have always been involved with,” Thibodeaux said.
While she remains focused on school, Thibodeaux said she is excited about the prospect of competing for Miss Kentucky, which will be held in June.
After winning Miss NIBROC in 2016, Thibodeaux went on to compete in Miss Kentucky in June 2017, finishing in the top 11.
“It would be a great time if I do win, but it would totally be a God thing if it were to happen,” Thibodeaux said.