Jemison native recently crowned Miss Alabama A&MBy Emily Etheredge Published 1:52pm Wednesday, September 11, 2013
As the new school semester begins, Jemison native Jessica Swindle is settling into a new routine after being crowned Miss Alabama A&M University.
Swindle, 21, won the Miss Alabama A&M University title in April after spending several weeks campaigning for votes from her student body.
The votes for the title are partially based off of student body votes with the remainder of the votes coming from a pageant held at the school.
“I’m not a politician, but it was the student body votes that helped me win the title,” Swindle said. “I didn’t hand out wristbands, or pass out cupcakes or balloons like some of the girls I was competing against did, but focused my time on going around and speaking to people, and I think that ultimately helped me win the title.”
Swindle will have her official coronation for the 2013-2014 year on Sept. 30.
Swindle, who was the 2010 Chilton County Peach Queen and 2010 graduate of Jemison High School, said her experiences in Chilton County helped prepare her for the new title of Miss Alabama A&M.
“Being a peach queen gave me the confidence to go after various things in college,” Swindle said. “I have to interact with a lot of different people on campus and being a peach queen gave me a boost to be able to do that now.”
Most days, Swindle spends time either studying, going to classes or attending meetings and events as Miss Alabama A&M.
One of the requirements for Swindle’s title at A&M University is to maintain a “presentable appearance” at all times when seen in public.
“I think that was a different change for me from being a peach queen because when I was a peach queen I had to look presentable at events but not all of the time,” Swindle said. “Now, whenever I leave for class I have to look like Michelle Obama so I am usually seen power walking around campus in high heels.”
Some things Swindle hopes to accomplish throughout the year include raising funds toward organizations that help feed the hungry, spending time at soup kitchens and encouraging upperclassmen to reach out to the new students on campus.
A communication arts major with a minor in English, Swindle hopes to continue her education at Mississippi State University where she wants to pursue a master’s in broadcast meteorology.
Swindle said her biggest influence in her life has been her parents, Dwight and Madeline Swindle, who have shown examples of living through faith and encouraging her to pursue her goals.
“My parents have always encouraged me that I can do it and having that example in my house really makes a difference,” Swindle said. “All that I have accomplished was me having faith that I could do it because I have seen how my parents carry out their faith in their daily lives.”
Although Swindle admits she is still adjusting to her new title, she enjoys going around campus and interacting with people.
“That is one thing I would have to say I have really enjoyed so far is everyone is so nice,” Swindle said. “I feel so much love from people. I will be walking around and someone will say hello to me because they know who Miss Alabama A&M is, so I try to interact with them and get to know them which has been a lot of fun.”
Swindle said most people would be surprised to learn that she can be silly and goofy when she isn’t trying to maintain grace and poise.
“I think a lot of people see me on campus and think I am this Michelle Obama figure who walks straight and is dressed up,” Swindle said. “I enjoy all of that but when I get around people I am comfortable with I can be loud and fun and crazy.”