Nuclear energy will have an unusually prominent platform in December, when the new Miss Wisconsin, Grace Stanke, competes in the Miss America 2023 competition at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Stanke, who is a nuclear engineering student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and an ANS student member, was crowned on June 18. For her social impact initiative speech, Stanke, expressed a desire to advocate for the use of green energy—especially nuclear energy—during her one-year reign as Miss Wisconsin.
Past Pageantry: Stanke had achieved success in a number of previous pageants leading up to Miss Wisconsin. She won the Miss Wisconsin Outstanding Teen competition in 2017 and in 2021 was a semifinalist in the Miss Madison competition. At the time of the 2022 pageant, Stanke was the current Miss Badgerland. For the talent phase of the Miss Wisconsin pageant, Stanke impressed the judges by playing the classical violin in a performance of Vivaldi’s “The Storm” from the Four Seasons.
The Wausau native came out on top of a field 22 candidates competing for the state crown. “She is an exceptional young woman with a unique combination of intellect, talent, ambition, and relatability,” noted Brenda Baudo, the executive director of the Miss Wisconsin Scholarship Organization. As winner of the pageant, Stanke received scholarships worth $12,500, along with a spot on the Miss America stage.
Praise from professor: ANS member Paul Wilson, University of Wisconsin–Madison professor of nuclear engineering and chair of the university’s Department of Engineering Physics, praised Stanke as “a strong student [who] has been a leader throughout her time on campus.” Wilson added that Stanke “has been a co-op at Exelon/Constellation” and “plans to use her position to promote nuclear energy.”
Rooting for nuclear energy: After being crowned, Stanke said, “This year, I’m extremely looking forward to promoting my social impact initiative, ‘Clean Energy, Clean Future.’ As a nuclear engineer, I’m particularly passionate about green energy and switching over the nation and being a world leader in zero-carbon energy. So I’m so excited to represent the state of Wisconsin, root for nuclear energy, and continue on to the Miss America competition.”