"I am rooted in resilience and creativity, with excitement for the future..."
On June 8th, Annika Wooton, of Overland Park, Kansas, graduate of the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Arts in Illustration, was crowned Miss Kansas 2019. As Miss Kansas, Annika will make over 400 appearances during her year-of-service, many of them in Kansas schools making motivational presentations to students. Annika’s social impact initiative “The Transformative Power of the Arts” places “art” in a different perspective. Every single piece of technology, clothing, architecture, and advertisement that exists, once went through the hands of an artist or a creative thinker.
Throughout her year-of-service, Annika will work to connect her social impact initiative with the Miss America national platform, Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals. She will serve as an ambassador, representing the hospitals that serve millions of children each year.
Annika represented Kansas at the 2020 Miss America Competition which was broadcast live on NBC from Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, on Thursday, December 19, 2019.
Annika earned a Top 15 placement at the competition in addition to a non-finalist talent award for her 90-second speed painting performance of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was also recognized as the winner of the Jean Bartel Social Impact Initiative Scholarship which acknowledges her exceptional work in arts advocacy and with the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. At the culmination of the competition, Annika earned an additional $13,000 in cash scholarship at Miss America 2020.
Miss Kansas travels throughout the state working closely with Via Christi – CMN Hospital, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism, and Kansas Department of Transportation, establishing relationships and learning more about the individuals of all ages for whom she will advocate throughout her year as Miss Kansas.
In addition to her work with her social impact initiative, Annika is both artistically and musically talented. She has traveled the country exhibiting her live painting with numerous organizations and events. Her travels have taken her across the state of Kansas, to Missouri, Florida, Virginia, and New Mexico. Her work has been featured locally in the University Daily Kansan and the Lawrence Journal World publications, as well as nationally featured in New York Magazine and Mic.com.
Annika is also active on the board of directors with the Kansas Alliance for the Arts in Education (KSAAE), working to ensure arts education in Kansas communities. She has traveled as a lead communicator and elected representative of the KSAAE to Washington, D.C. in March for National Arts Advocacy Day, hosted by Americans for the Arts. There, she has spoken with our Kansas legislators and other national leaders about the importance of preserving the arts in our schools and communities.
The Miss Kansas Organization is a state franchise of the Miss America Organization, one of the nation’s leading achievement programs and the worlds’ largest provider of scholarship assistance for young women. The Miss Kansas Scholarship Foundation, a 501(c) (3) organization makes available academic, community service, STEM, and other scholarships to women between the ages of 17 and 25. Annually, the Miss Kansas Organization provides over $3,000,000 in cash and in-kind scholarships assistance.