Miss America Organization photo

LAKE GENEVA — It’s a long-standing tradition for the new Miss America to have an official state homecoming tour and this year, it will begin in Lake Geneva.

Grace Stanke, 20, a senior nuclear engineering student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was crowned Miss America on Dec. 15 and hopes to use her platform to inspire girls to pursue fields in STEM.

She said she chose Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay for her opening news conference Thursday because it has been home to some of the most accomplished women scientists and researchers.

They include Mary Ross Calvert, an astrophotographer who contributed to the cataloging of dark objects at the start of the 20th century; and researcher Nancy Grace Roman, who, after working as a research assistant at Yerkes in the mid-1950s, became the first-ever Chief of Astronomy at NASA, plus she was the central force behind the birth, construction, and flight of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Then on Friday, she’ll begin the day with a STEM Presentation at Badger High School.

Later on, at 9:30 a.m., Stanke will hold a community visit at Inspired Coffee, 883 W. Main Street.

Inspired Coffee is a special place that employs people with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities where they are celebrated, job trained, coached and, over time, placed into a fully integrated work setting.

By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak launched Walworth County Community News in 2021. He is the former editor of The Week and Walworth County Sunday.