Biochemistry major wins Miss West Virginia USA pageant

Casey Lassiter wearing her Miss USA crown

In the days leading up to Marietta College’s four-day break, biochemistry major Casey Lassiter ’18 (Spencer, West Virginia) went through two rigorous interviews for entrance into graduate physician assistant programs.

But rather than taking the following four days to unwind, Lassiter, who is also pursuing minors in Biology and Health Communication, headed to Morgantown, West Virginia, to prepare for yet another challenge — the Miss West Virginia USA title.

After a rigorous two-day process that began with a preliminary round that included 40 women vying for the title, a semi-final with the top 15 candidates, and then the final competition between the top 5, Lassiter came away with the crown.

“It’s a really good feeling to know that I was a part of this,” Lassiter said.

Her first pageant was on a much smaller scale, though she took first place in that competition as well. Lassiter never imagined that she would compete for a statewide pageant.

“Friends and family talked me into doing this pageant,” she says. “It wasn’t until the last minute that I actually got up the nerve to do it, and I’m happy that I did. I’m grateful for my friends and family. They really pushed me to do my best and gave me the confidence to get up there and compete.”

Lassiter said her professors and fellow students have reached out to her since winning the title.

“I have had so much support from this school,” she said. “President Ruud called my house the next day — that was a really special moment for me.”

Her academic advisor, McCoy Associate Professor of Biochemistry Dr. Suzanne Parsons, said Lassiter is regularly one of the highest performing students in her challenging 400-level biochemistry class.

“She is not only very intelligent, but she is also one of the hardest working students I’ve ever encountered,” Parsons said. “Casey has engaged in active learning in my biochemistry course through POGIL activities, medical case studies and journal article analysis, where she clearly demonstrates her advanced understanding of the subject. It is very clear that she understands the positive impact that this education and knowledge of biochemical metabolic pathways will have on her future career. She is always thinking and taking advantage of every ounce of knowledge.”

As Miss West Virginia USA, Lassiter will conduct public appearances and complete volunteer missions, in addition to preparing for next spring’s Miss USA pageant. Like the Miss West Virginia USA competition, the Miss USA pageant will include an evening gown and swimsuit competition, as well as multiple interview rounds.

“Being at Marietta, I’ve taken a lot of classes in communication,” she said. “That’s really helped me be not as nervous talking in front of people. During the interview round, I know they ask the top 5 more controversial questions. So for those tougher questions, it helps to be up to date on what’s happening in the world. My education at Marietta College has helped me prepare for whatever I want to do.”

For her long-term goal, Lassiter plans to attend a graduate program to become a physician assistant.

“Casey will make an outstanding physician assistant,” Parsons said. “She is respectful and thoughtful, as well as curious and motivated.  She is a lot of fun and a super kind person.  She is a strong young woman who possesses strong work ethic, determination and intellectual ability. Her knowledge of biochemistry, biology and in health communications has prepared her well for her career as a physician assistant, and her passion for this career is unmatched.”