Caroline Grace Williams being crowned Miss Ohio 2019
Caroline Grace Williams being crowned Miss Ohio 2019 Photo: Sylvart

Caroline Grace Williams has two jobs: represent Miami University and Ohio

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Caroline Grace Williams shares how to use the safety features on your cellphone:

If you hit the side button five times on your iPhone, it automatically calls 911, sends your location to your emergency contacts, and updates your location every two minutes. Your phone locks and the only thing that becomes available is your medical information, if you have that set up in your health app.

When you set it up, always choose Show and Lock. Setting your phone to lock protects you if you’re held hostage and someone tries to take off the feature.

By Kristal Humphrey, university news and communications

Caroline Grace Williams may not have grown up in Ohio, but as the newly crowned Miss Ohio, she will now represent the state for the next year. The Miami University alumna and admission counselor talks about both roles and her work advocating for personal safety.

Q: What are your responsibilities as an admission counselor?

A: I recruit and advocate for students going through the application process.

What’s fun about my job is that every season is something different. The fall is recruitment, and I visit high schools, talk with students and counselors, and encourage students to apply to Miami.

Because I’m meeting with them, I can bring back to Miami information about what I’m learning from students. That helps us be a place they could see themselves spending the next four years.

In the winter, I review student applications, typically the ones from the regions I recruit from.

The spring is planning for events like Make it Miami, Red Carpet Day and bringing the Presidential Fellows to campus.

Summer means a lot of visits by high school students who might be thinking about applying.

Q: What do you like best about your job?

A: Meeting people, whether it’s counselors from the collegiate or high school level or students. I love learning people’s stories.

I’m also making a direct impact and enjoy seeing how I can change someone’s life.

Caroline Grace Williams

Q: Did you become an admission counselor right after graduating from Miami?

A: No. I was a theatre and music major and graduated in 2017. After winning Miss Oxford my senior year, I competed for Miss Ohio for the first time and made the top ten.

I later got a contract with a theater in Iowa. It was fun, but I wasn't crazy about the theater lifestyle.

As a student, I had worked in the admission office as a tour guide. About the time my theatre contract was ending, a job became available in admission. I started working here in December 2017.

Living in Cincinnati, I have been able to do shows there, as well as work at Miami. I have two careers that I want. I’m also working on my master’s in education.

Q: What made you decide to do the Miss Ohio competition again?

A: When I didn’t compete in 2018, I missed the Miss Ohio family and felt like I missed an opportunity to challenge myself personally.

I’ve always been someone who loves working on several things at once: my social impact issue on personal safety, performing and school. Miss Ohio was the first time all of those things fit together on a single platform. I also love that I’m promoting young women and scholarship.

Going into the competition, I had goals for myself and none of them were winning. One was uplifting the people around me. On finals night, they give two awards that are about sportsmanship, and I got both. That for me was the biggest win.

The crown is not about me; it’s about all of the other women and creating a path for everyone to move forward.

Q: What do you want people to know about the pageants?

A: The Miss America program has changed. There is no longer a swimsuit competition. Instead of being judged on your outward appearance, it’s about what you’ve done in academics and where your scholastic and career goals lie. They replaced the swimsuit competition with more on-stage interview questions.

The program helps with professional development, including interview skills and knowing how to carry yourself. In the interviews, they can ask you anything, so I did my research and was up to date on a lot of issues. Preparing for it gave me a standard of how I want to live my life. I feel very aware of what’s going on in the world and confident in my opinions. I want to be like this every day.

What also can’t be ignored is the family, friendship, women empowerment and scholarship. The Miss America organization is a large scholarship provider to women in the United States.

Q: What are some things you will do as Miss Ohio?

A: Of course, I’ll be in the Miss America pageant. I’ll also sing the National Anthem at various events, help at fundraisers and share about the Miss Ohio program. I’d like to tour Ohio universities to talk about the program, especially to women’s groups and sororities.

I’ll also promote my platform on personal safety wherever I go. It’s about teaching people to use the features on their cellphone to call 911 efficiently and effectively.

I was in a car wreck in November and used the phone feature. I knew if you hit the button five times, it called 911, so I did that. Then I discovered it also sent your location and medical information.

I’m hoping to take this information to schools, especially high schools where there are students just starting to drive. I want people to know, because it could change the outcome of an emergency.

Also, some cities in Ohio have the text 911 system, but it’s not statewide. I plan to advocate for that with legislators.