January 23, 2010 10:49:00 PM
Janet Grace Choongo of Jackson, a senior legal studies major at the Mississippi University for Women, has been nominated to compete in the Annual Miss Africa USA Scholarship Pageant.
The philosophy of the Miss Africa USA Scholarship Pageant is about appreciating the great opportunities that America has offered to women of African descent and how to use such a privileged position to advocate for the less fortunate. The pageant was founded on the basis of advancing the cause for women of African descent -- a perfect fit for Choongo, who is no stranger to giving back to the community.
She has volunteered at the Bethlehem Center After School Program, served the underprivileged at the Hope House and participated in various mission trip outreach programs.
Choongo will represent her country of origin, Zambia, and hopes to win the crown to support her humanitarian project, which is breast cancer awareness. According to Choongo, some studies show that women of African ancestry are more likely to be diagnosed with a more virulent form of breast cancer than women of European ancestry. Her passion for this disease comes from a personal experience.
"My great-grandmother and my grandmother died of breast cancer. Watching my grandmother confront and combat her disease inspired me to educate as many as possible about early detection, education and awareness because no one should have to experience what she experienced."
The next step for Choongo is to join the 70 semi-finalists in Atlanta for the Miss Africa USA Semi-Finals Bootcamp, which will take place from Feb. 12-14. The event will feature several educational workshops hosted by heads of charitable organizations, past pageant queens and inspirational speakers. The winners from this round will go on to represent their countries in the Miss Africa USA finals which will take place in July in Washington, D.C.
After graduating from MUW, Choongo plans to attend law school. During her spare time, she enjoys traveling, watching soccer, spending time with family and friends and scrapbooking.