February 7, 2018
On Feb. 3, third-year student Jamie L. Thomas-McDowell was crowned Miss WCU 2018. It is the 20th year of the annual scholarship competition. A communication studies major minoring in Spanish, she will focus her activities during her reigning year in support of Cityteam, a non-profit that provides services and support to low-income, addicted, and homeless residents of Chester, her hometown.
“I chose Cityteam as my platform for two reasons,” she explains. “The first reason is because Cityteam offered a place of shelter for my father in his time of need. … Cityteam offers a safe place for residents of Chester to lay their heads and get back on their feet. Because I hold my dad in such high esteem, the fact that Cityteam saw the potential in my father during a dark time reiterated to me just how special this place is. Secondly, Cityteam helps the city of Chester, the place that I call home.”
Thomas-McDowell sees the parallels between Cityteam and the University’s Resource Pantry and hopes she can connect the two, noting, “The platform I have chosen is crucial in a college setting because it creates awareness, networking, and volunteer opportunities.”
As she plans promotions for her platform, Thomas-McDowell touches on the growing addiction problem, saying, “I want to do something that is eye-opening and influential to help students not use drugs, slow down on the drugs they use, or stop using them all together. I just want to help any way I can.”
Thomas-McDowell is a resident assistant in Brandywine Hall, vice president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Rho Alpha Chapter, a University Ambassador, a member of the Abbe Society and a participant in its community service projects, and a Black Alumni Chapter mentee and ambassador. She has attended three of the Multicultural Student Leadership Conferences, the third annual leadership conference, and the Transfer Admissions & Advising Committee (TAAC) Conference.
She is proud to be Parent Orientation Leader of the 2017–18 Leadership Team, calling herself “a resource walking” because of all the University information she’s excited to share. “I enjoyed working more closely with parents of incoming first years and I was able to see their perspective during orientation. I also enjoyed the challenge of putting together the trainings for the new orientation leaders while also prepping for the eight days of orientation.”
Thomas-McDowell’s campus roles helped her prepare for the contest. She credited Jared Brown, director of New Student Programs, with sharing wisdom. “He gave me some very good advice about how to balance being professional and showing my personality. He taught me that I am always interviewing and should present myself as if people are always watching. Always have a 30-second elevator speech.”