Newman University senior nursing student Alexis Smith is the new Miss Wichita 2023 and will compete for the Miss Kansas title in June. During her reign as Miss Wichita, Smith will advocate for victims of domestic abuse and violence. “It stems from my own personal experience with teen dating violence that has transitioned into my adulthood,” she told the University newspaper. “I also have several family and friends that have been victimized. Now having been in the position of the victim and the bystander and becoming aware of the prevalence of this issue across the nation, I recognize that everyone needs awareness and educational knowledge on prevention, action and resources,” she said.

Also a ventriloquist

For Smith’s talent during the pageant she’ll perform a ventriloquist act using two puppets.  The performance entails her singing as well as performing. Outside the pageant, Smith says she will continue to use her puppets and ventriloquist act to help teach youth about developing healthy relationships.  She added that her dream would be to become Miss America and travel across the nation, where she would use her social impact initiative to educate others about domestic violence and the work of the Miss America organization.

Getting to know her

Growing up in Wichita, Smith was a varsity cheerleader all four years at Northwest High and had the opportunity to cheer at both Kansas State University and Fort Hays State University before coming to Newman.Her mom and younger brother, Mason, now live in Texas. “Now that I am no longer on a team, I like to continue participating in tumbling for fun. I also enjoy volunteering as a cheerleading coach and doing yoga,” she said. She is also a volunteer for the Wichita Family Crisis Center and recently helped with a wine tasting event that raised $15,000 to help victims and their children. She said her mother was her inspiration. “Growing up, I watched my mom as a single parent work her way through nursing school, while also providing the best quality of life she could for me. Her ambition, dedication, and love for nursing is one of the initial aspects that inspired me to go into nursing.

Future depends on pageant outcome

If Smith wins the Miss Kansas pageant or goes on to become Miss America, she will serve a year fulfilling those roles before launching her nursing career. If not, she plans to find a nursing position in Wichita and continue to compete in pageants. Since 2017, she’s worked as a  nurse technician in the Progressive Care unit at Ascension via Christi.  She’s enjoyed her time at Via Christi and could see herself staying there. “I get to provide patient-centered care;  helping patients get up and back – or close to  – their baseline after heart surgery,” she said. “At the same time, I think where my heart is leaning is more toward women’s healthcare.