MARTIN, TN (KFVS) - Hannah Robison, Miss Tennessee 2015, appeared on stage at the University of Tennessee at Martin for one final walk on Saturday, May 6 in front of a standing-room only crowd.
This time, however, she traded her tiara and ball gown for black commencement robes and honors cords as she received her bachelor's degree in chemistry during UT Martin's spring commencement ceremony.
Robison, of Springville, is perhaps best known for her year as Miss Tennessee, but she was an active member of the UT Martin campus community long before donning her first tiara. She served as a general chemistry recitation leader for the Department of Chemistry and Physics and worked for the UT Martin branch of the West Tennessee STEM Hub. She was also an active member of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority.
She encourages incoming students to take advantage of the college environment to find their own opportunities, even if they have to step outside their comfort zones and try something new.
"No matter how scary it may seem to put yourself out there and meet new people, it will be something you do not regret," Robinson said. "Getting involved in clubs and organizations on campus allows you to build relationships with amazing people that you never would have gotten to meet without trying something new."
Competing in pageants was one of the new experiences Robison tried and, after winning the title of Miss Scenic City in 2014, she advanced to the statewide Miss Tennessee pageant in June of 2015 and won the crown on her second try.
"My year as Miss Tennessee was filled with opportunities that I would not have been able to find anywhere else," she said. "As Miss Tennessee, I worked for Gov. Bill Haslam as his spokesperson for character education; I traveled over 80,000 miles and spoke to over 50,000 school children. I was able to highlight my work with the Arthritis Foundation on national television, and I was able to promote UT Martin across the entire state of Tennessee. The public speaking opportunities I had as Miss Tennessee and the people that I was able to meet have prepared me for my future."
Robison had been awarded more than $46,000 in college scholarship money through the Miss Tennessee and Miss America organizations.
She hopes to begin her chemistry career in a laboratory in the Nashville area but first, Robison is packing her bags for a three-week trip to Sweden for a study-abroad program.