Today we’d like to introduce you to Presly Pedigo.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I’m currently a junior at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville where I’m studying neuroscience to one day be a Physician Assistant. Growing up, I had always been very shy and awkward until I tried out for my very first pageant at the age of 15.
I had no clue what I was getting myself into, but I continued because it was something that I truly enjoyed! Pageants have since helped me grow exponentially in confidence, and I have them to thank for where I am today.
At the age of 18, I captured the coveted title of Teen Universe USA and represented our country at the international competition in Panama City, Panama.
Three years later at the age of 21, I hold the title of Miss Rocky Top for the USA National Miss Organization! I represent the state of Tennessee at nationals this summer. I have been able to grow my love for serving our city and state as the founder of Camp INSPIRE: a day camp for kids focusing on building volunteerism and leadership qualities.
I can also be found volunteering with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and the Brain Exercise Initiative.
Throughout my life, I have experienced struggles and hardships, but these have only shown me how important it is to possess the quality of resilience. I believe that you glow through what you go through, and I now have made it my mission to share this idea with the youth of Middle Tennessee.
I began “Resilience Starts with Me” an initiative that implements mental health coloring kits in schools.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I found my calling to one day be a Women’s Health Physician Assistant through my own personal experience. In my senior year of high school and freshman year of college, I found myself in an abusive relationship.
My women’s health PA was one of the first people who acknowledged what was happening to me, and she put me on the path to taking care of my physical and mental health.
Since then, I have been pursuing this career and have the hopes of one day attending PA School. If I can impact one individual the way my PA impacted me, it will make everything that I have been through worth it.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
As a student at UT Knoxville, I love being very involved on campus! I am a member of Phi Mu Sorority, Student Alumni Associates, a Brain Exercise Initiative volunteer, and have been involved in neuroscience research as an undergraduate.
I can also be found weekly at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital as a child life volunteer. My heart for service has shown throughout my whole college career by being my sorority’s philanthropy assistant as well as a member of our philanthropy committee for three years. I am proud that throughout my time as a student, I have shown young girls that glass ceilings can be broken!
People form their opinions of you because of the ways that you physically present yourself. The fact that I love hair and makeup does not determine my potential in academics and my career. I have worked hard to get where I am, and I am so proud that I continue to embrace who I am and continue to chase my dreams.
What makes you happy?
Something that makes me happy is my family! We are all so close, and I am so lucky that we all live in the Nashville area. As an only child, I am so close with my parents and I consider them my best friends.
I also love to work out especially attending Cyclebar Spin Classes! A passion of mine is also international travel- some of my favorite places so far have been Italy, Greece, and Aruba!
Carlos Velez and Goodwin Photography