Maggie Bridges has traded dirt roads and pickup trucks for a tiara, at least for the next year.
“How surreal this is that I’m going to Miss America, I still can’t get over that,” Bridges says, wide-eyed and full of excitement.
Bridges, a Brinson, Georgia native and a Georgia Tech senior is the current Miss Georgia. She left her hometown to come to Tech, smack dab in the middle of Atlanta’s 6-million person metro area.
“It’s a huge transition from a town with 300 people,” Bridges says. “I’m loving life. I love Georgia Tech.”
Evening gowns and high heels are a far cry from her roots.
“My dad’s a commercial farmer so that’s actually what we do. We legitimately grow crops,” Bridges explains.
Video: Meet Maggie Bridges
From the age of seven until she enrolled at Georgia Tech, Bridges worked on her family’s produce stand selling tomatoes, green beans, and cantaloupes. Growing up on a farm sparked Maggie’s love of science at a young age.
“There are animals everywhere. On top of being a farmer, my dad is basically a mechanical engineer," Bridges explains. "He was always patient explaining how things worked, from irrigation systems to tractor motors.”
As graduation nears, Bridges is looking for a way to combine all of the things she loves into a career path. An interest in the sciences from her upbringing on the farm, exposure to the health industry from her mother’s career a nurse, and an affinity for marketing have led her towards a degree in Business Administration with plans to attend pharmacy school after she completes her undergraduate degree.
Bridges realizes beauty pageants may not be the first thing you might associate with a Georgia Tech student.
“I feel like being a female at Tech, it’s kind of your duty to break stereotypes.”
While she busts down those stereotypes in preparations for the Miss America pageant in September, she has built up a wide network of support.
“I’ve had an incredible response. I’m so thankful that our school has been so supportive,” she explains.
Bridges is well known across campus. She has served as a campus tour guide welcoming potential students and as a student ambassador. She says it’s been the perfect opportunity to share her love of Georgia Tech with others.
“You have no excuse to come to Georgia Tech and not be 100 percent you,” Bridges advises. “You can come here and be a science genius, or you can come here and be Miss Georgia.”
Until coming to Georgia Tech, Bridges had never been outside of the United States. She was accepted into a study abroad program and she began the year 2014 traveling through Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.
“It was an amazing experience. Seeing the beaches in Fiji was priceless.” Bridges' father encouraged her to take the opportunity to expand her world view while she was at Georgia Tech. Heeding that advice, Maggie soaked up every adventure she could during her time overseas. She swam in freezing glacial lake, went skydiving, and went Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef.