Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

June 28, 2013

Competition begins for Ottumwa teen participating in national scholarship program

The Daily Iowegian

---- — Mobile, Ala. – Tomorrow marks the start of competition for Erica Swanson, the Ottumwa teen competing in the 56th Distinguished Young Women National Finals. Swanson, along with 49 other state representatives, has been in Mobile, Ala. for the past two weeks participating in community activities and preparing for the national scholarship competition.

The program’s evaluation process includes scholastics (20 percent), interview (25 percent), fitness (15 percent), talent (25 percent) and self-expression (15 percent). During the preliminary competition tomorrow and Friday, each participant will compete in the categories of self-expression, fitness and talent. Swanson has completed an individual interview with a panel of five judges and her scholastic performance has been scored through an evaluation process of her high school academic record and standardized test scores.

On Saturday, June 29, ten finalists will be selected from the group of 50 young women and will compete for the opportunity to represent the program as the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2013 and for a share of more than $100,000 in cash college scholarships.

“Each of the 50 state representatives has demonstrated her commitment to scholarship, leadership, and talent, and has worked toward making a lasting impact on her community through a dedication to service,” said Heather Rocker, executive director of Distinguished Young Women. “The young woman selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of America will represent not only the other program participants from across the country but also girls of all ages who have inspiring goals and bright dreams for a better tomorrow.”

For her talent presentation, Swanson will perform a tap dance to “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”. Swanson is a 2013 graduate of Ottumwa High School and the daughter of Patricia and Don Swanson.

To view the live webcast of the Distinguished Young Women National Finals, visit on Saturday, June 29 at 7 p.m. CST. To see photos of participants from their time in Mobile, visit

About Distinguished Young Women

Founded in 1958 in Mobile, Alabama, Distinguished Young Women 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. Previously known as America’s Junior Miss, the program announced its new name in June 2010.

For more information about Distinguished Young Women, contact Stephanie Bradford, National Headquarters Communications Director (251) 622-5335, or visit