Nicole Renard '17 was named Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2013.

Chapman University freshman named Distinguished Young Woman of America

Incoming Chapman University freshman Nicole Renard ’17 was named the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2013 and presented with a cash scholarship of $30,000 at the conclusion of the 56th Distinguished Young Women National Finals in Mobile, Ala.

Renard earned preliminary scholarship awards in the fitness and talent categories totaling $2,000 in additional cash scholarships. In an interview with Studio 10, the Washington native talks about her plans to study television broadcast journalism at Chapman this fall.

Following a selection process that began in her home state of Washington, Renard traveled to Mobile, Ala. along with 49 other state representatives to participate in community activities and prepare for the 56th annual national competition. Renard amassed a total of $37,000 in cash scholarships through her participation in the Distinguished Young Women program at the state and national levels.

Previously known as America’s Junior Miss, it is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. During its 56 years of operation, the program has provided life-changing experiences for more than 730,000 young women. Last year, Distinguished Young Women provided more than $108 million in cash and college scholarship opportunities to program participants at the local, state and national level.

Dawn Bonker

Dawn Bonker

15 comments

  • America’s Junior Miss? ‘awards in fitness and talent’?–so what you’re really saying is she won the swimsuit competition in a beauty pageant. Wow, really what we want our students to be known for.

    • For your information Distinguished Young Women scholarship is one of the is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. There’s no swimsuit competition, tiaras or sashes. The winner doesn’t receive a modeling contract or get to go to acting school. She receives a medal and a large scholarship prize. That’s it. She then gets to travel across the country promoting the Distinguished Young Women’s platform: Be Your Best Self (Be Studious, Be Healthy, Be Responsible, Be Ambitious, Be Involved) to young kids and high school students. There’s nothing shallow about that! And that “fitness” portion of the competition you consider as a swimsuit contest is a fitness routine that each girl must complete that tests their stamina, flexibility and their health. They’re all covered wearing modest workout attire; not swimsuits! During the week competition Nicole even went to the beach with the other contestants all of whom wore modest one piece bathing suits (No Bikinis) and their pictures are online if you want to check. So yes everybody should be proud of Nicole attending Chapman University. It is a tremendous honor. She’s very generous, talented, athletic and smart. She beat out several talented and gifted young women across the country all of whom are active members in their community, with high GPAs, who have received several other scholarships along with acceptance to very prestigious schools, not to mention the fact that some of them are star athletes in at their schools and across country. Nicole could’ve of gone to several other schools for free because she was named the Distinguished Young Women of America but instead she chose Chapman University to become a journalist just like Diane Sawyer (Speaking of which she was named Distinguished Young of America [then called America’s Junior Miss] in 1963). So yes if Nicole was an another beauty queen walking around in a bikini, partying and doing drugs, yes I would agree but that’s not who Nicole is. She’s The Distinguished Young Women of 2013!!!!

    • This is not a beauty pageant, and there is no swimsuit (nor evening gown) competition. No sashes, no tiaras, no bikinis. Girls compete at the local, state, and then national level with other high achieving girls in the categories of scholastics (average GPA is well above 4.0), interview (current events – the girl stands in front of a panel of judges and answers rapid fire questions for ten minutes), fitness (a workout routine wearing modest work-out clothing, emphasis on sit-ups and pushups, as well as endurance), self-expression (poise as well as the ability to answer a question on stage with confidence), and talent (usually dance or piano). Very wholesome. Whether the girls win the scholarships or not, the process is very valuable. The girls are mentored along the way, and gain self-confidence as well as useful skills (interviewing, public speaking.) I am commenting as a parent, not as a volunteer in the program (it is run by volunteers, by the way), and I was impressed by the whole program.

      Now, if Chapman students are concerned about their image, they should turn their attention to their bi-annual “undie runs.” Do a google image search on Chapman University, and the resulting images (among the first to appear) are scantily clad students in provocative poses. The whole computer screen looks like Girls Gone Wild. Awful.

  • This program evaluates the participant, in part, on grace, poise, demeanor, carriage and posture. Physical attributes really have no place in an scholarship program that purports to recognize the talents and achievements of modern young women. That is why people still consider this to be a pseudo-beauty pageant.

    • So evaluation of an athletes performance and academics should not be Considered when offering a sports scholarship to Chapman sports participants?? Please think before commenting

  • I believe hard academic work needs to be recognized and Chapman University does just that! Please do not forget the Chapman Students trying very hard despite the disability he or she faces every day every moment but with the heart felt drive of a “PANTHER.” Sounds like a student with “Multiple Sclerosis!” That person is me a forever Chapman Alumni. No torn pages ….Nothing broken……Nothing wasted!!! To complain about trivial things is a waste of time and energy. Please, all of you Chapman Students and Alumni support and share useful positive thought. “I kept looking for someone to solve the problem……then I realized, I am someone.” I live by this and so should you! Remember Peace, Tolerance and Love.

  • Speaking as someone who knows her, Nicole is an exemplary young woman, and Chapman is lucky to have her. You won’t find anyone more focused, diligent, caring, kind, talented or adademically accomplished – all reasons why she won this national title. It’s great to see the positive comments below. As for the derisive ones, I suggest you would do well to meet her and get to know her before judging her based on pre-conceived (and false) notions of who she is or the signficance of her scholarship program achievement. She will make her mark on Chapman, and on everyone who meets her. Congratulations and Godspeed, Nicole.

  • I’m really happy for you, Nicole! I’m’a let you finish basking in the glory, but Miley Cyrus has one of the best twerks of all time!…of all time!!

  • I was a Junior Miss and still donate to to this outstanding program! Congratulations, Nicole! What an honor! I hope to meet you, so come by and say hi! Go Chapman! -Brandee Williams Lara, Chapman University Department of Dance (FVJM, ’76; CJM C
    and PA winner, ’76)