MIT senior Susan Rushing, a finalist in the Miss Maryland contest in 1997, will compete in the Miss Massachusetts contest June 11-12 at Bristol Community College in Fall River.
Ms. Rushing, who is majoring in brain and cognitive science and plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in the fall, won the Miss Bay State 1999 title on April 25 at North Attleboro High School. She received a $3,500 scholarship as Miss Frederick (Maryland) in 1997.
In the earlier pageants, she learned the importance of community service "for the contest, for medical school applications and most important, for personal fulfillment and happiness." She plans to do community outreach work for the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) this summer.
Tickets for the Miss Massachusetts contest may be ordered through Ms. Rushing by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. They are $35 for both nights, or $15 for June 11 and $25 for June 12. Ticket orders must be placed by May 15.
Some of her sisters at Alpha Phi, her family and friends from work already plan to attend. Her attitude is 'the more the merrier.' "It would be great to have a general MIT cheering section there," she said. "You're allowed to bring signs and yell and scream. I'd like that."
In winning the Miss Bay State title, Ms. Rushing performed Think of Me from Phantom of the Opera ("it has a long run at the end and a really dramatic high note," she said). She will sing O Mio Babbino Caro from Puccini's Gianni Schicchi in the Miss Massachusetts contest, the aria she performed when she won the Miss Frederick title.
Ms. Rushing entered the Maryland contests when a former high school teacher, himself a pageant director, suggested she compete for the scholarship money. "I wasn't thrilled about the swimsuit part," she said. "While they say it's for visual observation of muscle tone, I believe there are better ways to measure fitness."
In the Miss Massachusetts contest, she plans to wear a one-piece bathing suit again. "I sometimes dream about breaking into a Tae Bo move in the middle of the competition, as if to say, 'If you want to see muscle tone, here it is,'" said Ms. Rushing, an avid aerobics exerciser.
Ms. Rushing is active in MedLINKs and served on the Working Group on Binge Drinking. In addition to being a member of the revived cheerleading squad this year, she has performed with the Ballroom Dance Team. She was also a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship and a Truman Scholarship.
She completed high school in three years and spent her senior year as an intern at the National Cancer Institute studying lymphoma in AIDS patients and cancer cell initiation, publishing two articles while working there.
A dramatic soprano, Ms. Rushing started studying voice in the eighth grade. At 16, she was the youngest member of the Maryland Lyric Opera and has toured extensively in Europe and the United States. Although she had an opportunity to attend the Juilliard School in New York, Ms. Rushing came to MIT, where she is active in the Vocal Music Scholars program. She will give a recital in Killian Hall on Saturday, May 22 at 6pm. Admission is free.
A version of this article appeared in the May 12, 1999 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 43, Number 30).