“It’s a tremendous honor to have been selected Miss Colorado United States and these days I’m frequently on the road at charity events,” Schwiegerath says, “it always feels great to come back home to Gunnison and focus on my studies here at Western.”
Schwiegerath graduated from Highlands Ranch High School in the Denver area and chose Western because of its mountain location and unique Professional Land & Resource Management program within the business department. “PLRM graduates find good, high paying jobs right out of college, and that’s important to me,” she says, “plus, it’s really interesting!”
Western’s PLRM emphasis in the business program prepares students for positions as land negotiators involved in energy and mineral exploration. Students learn land and resource management principles while taking classes in business administration, economics, geology, and environmental studies.
During Schwiegerath’s sophomore year, her mother became sick and Schwiegerath had to take a break from Western and return to Denver to be with her family. While back in Denver, she attended classes at a large public university. “It didn’t fit me,” she says, “the classes were huge and I felt like a number. It made me really miss the personal attention and small classes at Western.”
When the time was right, she returned to Western to finish her degree. “At the same time, I decided to try out for Miss Colorado,” Schwiegerath says, “I wanted to do something for myself, and it sounded like a lot of fun.”
Schwiegerath was crowned Miss Colorado United States in April of 2013. Since then, she’s been busy taking classes at Western and volunteering at charity events across the state. “It’s been a great opportunity to give back to some great causes,” she says, “and I’m proud to tell people about how wonderful Western is when I travel.”
Schwiegerath says she isn’t the stereotypical Western student. “I’m not a skier and don’t kayak or rock climb,” she says, “but there is so much to do here if you’re not into those things. I love to go to football and basketball games, I spent some time as a cheerleader, and there are tons of intramurals and other activities to keep you busy. Finally, you don’t have to be a skier to appreciate how beautiful it is here in the mountains.”
When she graduates, Schwiegerath, plans to work in the land management field. “But I’ll always be looking for ways to give back to Western,” she says, “so many Western alumni before me have been there to support us, and it’s the least I can do for having had such a great education.”