Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Just What Doctor-to-Be Ordered; Premed Student Wins State Pageant Crown

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Just What Doctor-to-Be Ordered; Premed Student Wins State Pageant Crown

Article excerpt


She loves the crown and gown -- but mostly because it will help her earn her physician's lab coat.

Nineteen-year-old Pranoo Kumar of Jacksonville was recently crowned Miss Florida at the American Coed Pageant. She met with and was congratulated by Mayor John Peyton and will represent the state at the pageant's national competition in Orlando Thanksgiving week.

She said the Coed Pageant stresses academics and talent over appearance. At the American Coed Pageant, she also won the academic achievement award and was a semifinalist in the volunteer service contest.

"I'm really excited and honored to represent Florida at the national competition," she said. "It's a privilege and I know it will help me reach my goal of becoming a doctor."

In a congratulatory letter, the mayor commented on the importance the pageant places on academics.

"I commend you for taking part in a pageant that emphasizes the importance of education," Peyton wrote. "The determination and good work skills you displayed to achieve this goal will serve you well as you enter medical school."

As the state winner, Kumar won $500 cash, a trophy, admission for two to a Walt Disney World park in Orlando and $300 in travel expenses to the national pageant in Orlando.

At the national pageant, she will compete for a $3,000 scholarship and $300 in travel expenses to return the following year to relinquish her crown. She could also win additional trophies and cash prizes in the areas of academic achievement, volunteer service and other categories.

Though her parents are from India, she moved to Jacksonville at age 3 and grew up in East Arlington in the Kernan Boulevard area. Her dad and mom, Pramodh and Pratima Kumar, now live on the Northside.

She completed the International Baccalaureate at Paxon School for Advanced Studies in 2003 and entered the University of Florida as a sophomore. She earned a full four-year scholarship and is pursuing a degree in microbiology and cell science.

She wants to become a pediatric neurosurgeon. Though an only child, she says she's always loved being around children. …

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