|Photo: Soozie Harrison|
So, let's see what happens when Mackenzie Longo visits Section 36!
How did you celebrate winning the Miss Three Rivers crown?
To be honest, I did a little happy dance around my college apartment after I received the call from Alysa, our current Miss PA, since it was a sweeps title. I called some friends and family, and then immediately got to work because I was just SO excited.
Is there a specific goal you’d like to accomplish during your time as Miss Three Rivers?
As Miss Three Rivers, I would love to provide science kits to at least two or three more schools, and hopefully partner with a major science program in the Pittsburgh area. Pittsburgh is a hub for science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, so forming a partnership with one of the many businesses/programs in the area would allow me to leave an impact on a broader audience!
What has been the most pleasant surprise about your time as Miss Three Rivers?
Right now, I am working on getting together items for a silent auction basket and making appearances in the Pittsburgh Area. Pittsburghers are known for being friendly and supporting their own, and I am so honored that I have been able to experience that. The outpouring of support from the community has been lovely, and the opportunities that I've gotten from this experience are ones that I will never forget. I was recently honored by our soccer club, the Riverhounds, and the love I felt from the community and crowd during the game is something I can't even put into words!
How did you select your community service initiative, “If You Can See Her, You Can Be Her”?
Growing up, I never really had any strong female role models in science. I thought that to have a career in science, you had to be a scientist who worked in a lab alone OR go into medicine. Neither of those things interested me, but I had always loved experimenting and my science courses. As I got older and was choosing a career path, I realized that I could use my passion and love for science to help other young women.
What can you tell me about “The Excellent Experimental STEM Experience”?
The Excellent Experimental STEM Experience, or TEESE for short, is the biggest outreach part of my community service initiative. I have created science kits for kids with tons of different experiments. I currently have two different kits designed, and also have a YouTube channel where I do the experiments myself. I know that students learn differently, and I want to acknowledge that! I have donated over 150 kits to students in two different age groups - 1st graders, and 5th/6th graders.
You just graduated from Seton Hill University with a degree in Biology. Where do you see that field taking you?
As of right now, my goal is to become a high school biology teacher. I chose my program because it allowed me to pursue my science degree while also receiving my teaching certification, and then if I choose not to stay in education, I have options. I hope to share my love of science with others, and show what types of careers there are in STEM. Eventually, I plan to earn an Ed. D. with a focus in STEM Education and move to higher education!
If you could be a Disney character for a week, who would you choose? Why?
That's a really tough one. If we're considering Star Wars characters to be Disney characters, then I would probably say Princess Leia. She is just the definition of a strong, powerful woman, and I have always loved Star Wars since I was a little girl. If I went with a traditional character - it would have to be Belle. I absolutely love reading, and to have access to her scope of a library would be a dream.
If you had an extra ticket to see the Red Sox play the Pirates, who would you take with you? Why?
I would most definitely have to take my older brother, Rob. He is a huge sports fan - so much that he made it part of his career! Growing up, I always remembered him being a big Red Sox fan, and whenever they came to town he would wear a Pirates jersey and Red Sox hat to the games. If he had to choose a MLB team other than the Pirates, I think they would still be his pick!
Is there a feature or activity at a baseball game that you’d especially like to experience?
One of the traditions at Pittsburgh Pirates games is the Great Pierogi Race, which is more or less exactly what it sounds like. After the 5th inning, a bunch of mascots dressed as different Mrs. T's pierogis race around the warning track at the edge of the field. I think it would be fun to be Jalepeño Hanna just once so I could wack my competitors with the purse she carries. On a more general note, I've always wanted to throw out a first pitch!
As always, I want to thank Mackenzie for visiting with us, and for sending along the pictures to go with the interview.
I also want to wish her luck when she competes for Miss Pennsylvania! It would be fantastic to have another Section 36 Forever wear that crown.
I'm sure you'd like to follow along with Mackenzie during her journey. You should be sure to check out her title's Instagram account. It's a great way to keep track of everything she has going on, and you'll be sure not to miss anything. You'll also want to check out the TEESE website to see everything it has to offer.
Thanks again Mackenzie, and good luck!