Lauren Kuhn, 23, a second-year student at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, was crowned Miss Massachusetts on Sunday, June 29, at the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts in Worcester, Massachusetts. She was chosen for the honor from a field of 21 contestants from across the Commonwealth. With a personal platform focusing on encouraging young women to pursue their goals through higher education, Kuhn entered the competition as Miss Collegiate Area. “I am proud to be the 75th Miss Massachusetts,” said Kuhn, who performed a piano piece. “I am humbled and honored to have spent a wonderful week with intelligent, beautiful, talented women from all over our Commonwealth.”
During the four-year DMD program at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM), Kuhn is pursuing the research honors track, conducting research related to appearance and self-esteem (especially a person’s smile) under the mentorship of HSDM faculty member Donald B. Giddon, DMD59, PhD. She is currently interested in the dental field of endodontics, which includes root canal therapy, among other procedures. “I have known people with terrible, crippling toothaches,” she said, "and I would like to be the person to take that pain away, particularly in an underserved community."
In addition to her studies at HSDM, Kuhn has devoted many hours during the past year to public service as Miss Collegiate Area. In recognition of her interest in public policy, she was recently chosen to be a member of the Massachusetts Dental Society Council on Public Affairs. Kuhn has developed a three-point plan as Miss Massachusetts: working with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on the Federal Loan Refinancing Act; growing the scholarship she established for young women into the thousands of dollars; and speaking at schools across the state about topics including financing a college education, the process of applying to college, and oral health. “I’m happy to answer any questions they might have,” she said. “I love encouraging people to pursue their passions. The Miss Massachusetts and Miss America contests are helping me to pursue mine.”
Miss America, of which Miss Massachusetts is a part, is the world’s largest provider of scholarships for women, distributing more than $45 million every year. The scholarship funds Kuhn receives as Miss Massachusetts—$10,000 for winning and $1,000 for the academic award—will help her pay tuition at HSDM. She moves on to compete in the Miss America contest in September in Atlantic City. As a participant in that competition, she will earn a guaranteed minimum of $3,000 in scholarship funds.
The four points of the crown she wears stand for style, scholarship, success, and service. “I try to live my life by those ideals,” said Kuhn. “I know that some people make fun of these competitions, but for me it’s a vehicle through which I can promote the importance of education. And, since Miss America is partnered with the Children’s Miracle Network hospitals, I often visit kids in the hospital. With my crown, the kids think I’m a real princess, and the opportunity to brighten their day is very special.”