Sunday, March 2, 2008

Pageant Press: New Miss Mansfield plans on medical career

The article below is by Lou Whitmire from the Mansfield News Journal.

ONTARIO — About 12 hours after earning the crown, Christie Youssef was still elated about winning the Miss Mansfield Scholarship Program Saturday night.

“We stayed up until 4 a.m.,” said Youssef, 22, a Canfield native, as she joined local pageant organizers at Applebee’s Neighorhood Grill & Bar for brunch today. “It was so exciting. It was unbelievable. It still hasn’t sunken in.” [Photo on the left by Jason Molyet.]

Youssef won the title at Mansfield Senior High School auditorium, besting 11 other contestants. She won a $1,500 scholarship from Newman Technology and other gifts and prizes.

Youssef also was named Miss Congeniality, and garnered scholarship money as the talent award winner. She also was the contestant with the highest interview score.

Tired but happy this morning Youssef, who has a contagious laugh, said participating in the 14-hour program on Saturday was well worth it.

“I have a huge passion for this organization,” she said. “It’s really changed my life competing the past few years. I’ve seen the positive effects it has on my life and I’d like to help people recognize what this program encompasses so they can also be a part of it and benefit from it in the same way.”

The talented woman, who played, “The Baroque Flamenco” on the harp Saturday night , self-taught herself the instrument while in college to fulfill a music requirement, then began taking formal lessons.

“That semester I rented a harp and taught myself in my dorm room how to read and write music,” she said.

A graduate of Westmont College where she majored in music, Youssef said she plans to become a pediatric cardiologist.

She is studying daily for eight hours to prepare herself to take the medical college admissions test. She plans to apply to medical colleges in Ohio and Texas.

The Dayton-born Youssef, who competed last year on the Miss Ohio stage as Miss Portsmouth, said Saturday night’s preliminary was her first this year.

Her mother Nellie Youssef, who accompanied her to the brunch, said she is proud of her daughter for her heart, “that’s what won her the crown. She has an honest heart and this is what the judges see,” her mother said.

Youssef, the daughter of Nellie Youssef of California and Dr. Adel Youssef, who operates a clinic in Warren, Ohio, said she has been active in pageants for years, competing in Ohio and California.

Her parents could become very busy if Youssef were to win the crown at the Miss Ohio Scholarship Program in June.

Christie’s sister Melissa, 19, a week ago won a Miss California preliminary, the Miss LA-Culver City pageant. She now goes on to compete at Miss California Scholarship Program. Both programs are in June, on consecutive weekends.

Her mother said nothing would please her mother if both women could go to the Miss America Scholarship Program.

Youssef, who graduated high school and college in California, also recently appeared on the TV show, “Moment of Truth,” where she won $100,000.

Miss Mansfield executive director Laura Russell made everyone laugh when Youssef shared the information about being on the lie-detector reality show, saying, “See, not only are my girls smart, they’re honest too.”

After taxes, she will be able to pay for 1 1/2 years of medical school with her winnings.

As Miss Mansfield, the well-spoken Youssef will promote as her platform, or area of interest, “Prevention of domestic abuse.”

“It’s the No. 1 reason for woman going to the emergency room,” she said. “I know a lot of people who are in domestic abuse relationships but they were never actually physically assaulted so they never seek help. ... The focus of my platform is to help people recognize what that word means and how to recognize it and how to prevent it,” Youssef said.

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