Former Wausau Campus Scholarship Recipient Crowned Miss America 2023

Friday, Mar 17, 2023

Grace Stanke Miss America 2023

Wausau native Grace Stanke has a unique story among the many former scholarship recipients who attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point at Wausau Campus. She was recently crowned Miss America 2023!

After finishing her studies at Wausau West High School and the UWSP at Wausau campus in 2019, Grace enrolled at UW-Madison to pursue a degree in nuclear engineering. Her career potential in engineering was well-recognized on the Wausau Campus, where faculty awarded her with the prestigious B.A. & Esther Greenheck Departmental Distinction Award for Engineering in May 2019.

She went on to excel at the UW-Madison School of Engineering, and later won the Miss Wisconsin competition in 2022, followed by her big success at the Miss America competition.  As Miss America 2023, she has a high-profile travel schedule, which included a recent hometown appearance at the Wausau Rotary Club on March 6. Grace certainly hasn’t forgotten her brief time taking courses on the Wausau Campus. She took a few minutes recently to participate in a quick Q & A session with our foundation director Brad Zweck:

Q: Why did you choose to take courses locally on our Wausau Campus prior to moving on to UW-Madison?

A: I took classes with the Wausau Campus because I was pursuing dual enrollment courses while in high school. I was not receiving the challenge I wanted in high school courses and in AP courses, so I pursued dual enrollment through the Wausau Campus.

 Q: Looking back now, what difference did your start on our Wausau Campus make in your higher education journey?

A: It allowed me to slow down during my time at UW-Madison. I was able to take time off school to work as a co-op, while also still being able to graduate in four years after graduating high school. That released a lot of financial burden.

 Q: You were the 2019 recipient of the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Departmental Distinction Award for Engineering on our campus. Did this faculty recognition and scholarship support motivate you to succeed? 

A: This was a thrilling award to receive, considering I was a high school student at the time of receiving this award. I was always close with my professors and enjoyed getting to know them through the course. This scholarship certainly played a role in relieving financial stress and continued to propel me into my career as an engineer.

 Q: Would you recommend that other local, young students start their higher education journey on our Wausau Campus? If so, why?

A: I had an unusual circumstance, but one thing is clear about the Wausau Campus: They want their students to succeed. All my professors were patient, kind and caring. It helped save money while pursuing a bachelor's while still receiving a high-quality education. I highly recommend it!