|Photo: Matt Boyd|
So, let's see what happens when Karson Pennington visits Section 36!
How did you celebrate winning the Miss Georgia crown?
I celebrated by spending lots of time with my family! They are the reason behind everything I do. I am very close with my mother, father, and sister, so when I finally got home after spending almost two weeks in Columbus, GA, we did what we always do—play card games and watch movies! I’ve been competing in the Miss America Organization since I was 13 years old, and couldn’t have been more surprised when my name was called as Miss Georgia 2021. It’s been an absolute honor thus far, and I’ll be celebrating this victory for the rest of my life.
What part of the upcoming Miss America competition are you most nervous about?
Honestly, I’m probably the most nervous about the onstage interview! Even though I’m a Teaching Assistant at the University of Georgia for introductory American Government classes and spend much of my time in front of my classroom, I still get nervous when put on the spot. However, I love being the connection that students have between the classroom and real life. So, being a Teaching Assistant has helped me in overcoming some of the nervousness I experience during onstage interview!
You were recently able to appear in the iconic Show Us Your Shoes parade at the Miss America 100th anniversary celebration. What was that experience like?
The Show Us Your Shoes parade has been one of my favorite events of my reign! I was able to represent my college, the University of Georgia. While in my undergraduate studies at UGA, I was a four-year member of the Georgettes Dance Team with the Redcoat Marching Band. I had the opportunity to dance at 3 SEC Championships, 2 Sugar Bowl Games, and the 2018 National Championship. UGA sports have played a huge role in my life, so I was honored to demonstrate my love for the school by wearing the iconic Georgette white boots in the parade. I’ll never forget riding in the parade and yelling “Go Dawgs” to everyone I saw!
How did you select your social impact initiative, “Reach Out and Read”?
When I was three years old, I was diagnosed with onset fluency disorder, or stuttering. I had trouble connecting my thoughts to my speech, and struggled to get words out of my mouth. My pediatrician recommended to my parents that they teach me to read as a way to build confidence in my speaking skills. I haven’t put books down since! Reading saved my life, so now I travel the state in hopes that education and literacy can save the lives of others as well.
While at UGA you were a member of the Georgettes dance team. What was that experience like?
Being a Georgette was an experience unlike any other! I will never forget the feeling of dancing in Sanford Stadium in front of 93,000 fans. One of my favorite memories was the Notre Dame game in the 2019 season, which was my senior year. I traveled with the band to Notre Dame in 2017 when we pulled off a close win, so getting to see the Dawgs beat Notre Dame again, at a night game in Sanford Stadium was truly chilling. I love sports, and being a Georgia fan hasn’t always been easy! But, I’m very proud to have been a small part of our recent success. Go Dawgs!
You’re currently a doctoral student in Political Science and International Affairs. Where do you see that field taking you?
I never imagined that I’d be getting my PhD in Political Science & International Affairs, but, now I can’t imagine my life without my research and teaching opportunities. I found my passion for political science in fall of 2016 as a freshman in an Honors Introduction to American Government class, which I had truthfully dreaded taking! I was an English and Journalism major at the time, and didn’t believe I knew enough about politics and government to be successful in the class. When I realized how important history was to political science, it began to peak my interest. By the end of my first semester at UGA, I had changed my major to political science and had a million questions about how our government operated. Now, I complete research about the judiciary and teach classes each week. I love what I do and cannot wait to become a collegiate professor and advocate
If you could be a Disney Character for a week, who would you choose? Why?
I would absolutely be Belle! Though the prospect of being trapped in a castle with a beast sounds horrible, I would love to have access to all the books in the library. I would spend the entire week reading, which is basically my idea of a perfect week anyway! And, my favorite color is yellow, so I’d love to have her ball gown in my wardrobe.
The Braves just won the World Series this year for the first time in over 25 years. As a Braves fan, what was it like to have them do that during the year you’re representing the state as Miss Georgia?
I’ve been a Braves fan my entire life, so I am absolutely overjoyed that the Braves have won a World Series title for the first time in my lifetime! I had the opportunity to attend Game 3, and of course brought my sash into the game for some pictures. It was such a surreal experience to be wearing “Georgia” across my heart while sitting in Truist Park. I can remember being a toddler, wearing my dad’s oversized Braves t shirts, and sitting on his lap during the games. When the Braves won the World Series in 1995, my dad bought a denim jacket with the Braves logo on it. 26 years later, I wore my dad’s jacket to Game 3! I’m so proud to be a Georgian, and a Braves fan. What a year to be Miss Georgia!
Is there a feature or activity at a Braves game that you’d especially like to experience?
My favorite tradition is when Timothy Miller sings “God Bless America”. It’s incredibly moving to see the entire stadium sing along. It makes me more proud than ever to be a Braves fan and an American!
That sounds like a fantastic experience!
As always, I want to thank Karson for visiting with us, and for sending along the pictures to go with the interview.
As Karson continues her time as Miss Georgia, I encourage you to follow her title's Instagram and Facebook accounts. You should also check out the official Miss Georgia website. They're great ways to keep track of everything she has going on!