Breana Turner, a first-year student in the Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health (TBMH) Graduate Program at Virginia Tech, has made history as the first-ever Miss Virginia Volunteer.

The 24-year-old was recently awarded the title in Lynchburg, earning a $10,000 scholarship. She will dedicate her reign to advocate for women’s health and will compete next spring at the national pageant, Miss Volunteer America, in Jackson, Tennessee.

With a master’s degree in public health from Virginia Tech, Turner has spent five years building a community outreach mentor and empowerment program, Sisters with Ambition. The program helps girls in middle and high school gain confidence, foster healthy relationships, set goals, and learn valuable professional development skills.

“Even though I’m a mentor to these middle and high school young women, I aspire to be a role model that is real,” Turner said. “They inspire me more than I inspire them.”

Virginia Tech’s TBMH program offers interdisciplinary master’s and doctoral degrees in biomedical and health sciences research for students interested in advanced educational and career opportunities at the intersection of the life, physical, engineering, social, and computational sciences.

“We think Breana is a great representative of the TBMH program’s values to engage in the community and to be leaders in thought and practice,” said Steven Poelzing, associate professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC and co-director of the TBMH program. “As a group, we are always striving to do better and be better to make positive, sustainable changes for our students, science, and the world at-large.”

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