Eagle River grad makes national scholarship competition

Saturday, July 8, 2017 - 12:00
  • Courtesy photo Elle Adkins, a 2017 Eagle River High School graduate and the 2017 Distinguished Young Woman of Alaska. Elle Adkins, a 2017 Eagle River High School graduate and participant in the Distinguished Young Women national scholarship program. (Courtesy photo)

A month after earning her diploma, Eagle River High School graduate Elle Adkins packed her bags and headed south to represent her hometown on a national stage.

One of 51 competitors in the prestigious Distinguished Young Women scholarship competition, Adkins is preparing to make her bid for the program’s many scholarships during the upcoming finals in Mobile, Alabama. Nationwide, the Distinguished Young Women program makes available more than $1.1 billion worth of scholarships, promoting the message “Be Your Best Self” and evaluating participants in matters of scholarship, talent, fitness, self-expression and interview skills.

“It’s all about empowering women,” Adkins said.

It runs in the family. Her mother, Holly (Salo) Adkins, was Miss Alaska in 1990. The younger Adkins — who was also named Miss Alaska’s Outstanding Teen in 2015 — said her mother played an important role in helping her prepare for the trip to Alabama.

To make it to the finals, the former ERHS cheer team captain and student government secretary was first named as the Distinguished Young Woman of Alaska. She’ll face the national competition in Mobile June 29-July 1. In the weeks prior, she’ll join her fellow competitors in community service projects throughout area.

“The city of Mobile is so incredibly welcoming, we just want to give back to the community as much as possible,” she said by phone from Alabama Monday afternoon.

At the end of the day, she said, she hopes to walk away with a few of the scholarships offered at the annual competition. Adkins said she plans on beginning her college career at the University of Alaska Anchorage, then eventually transferring to Vanderbilt University; studying biological sciences on a pre-med track. Distinguished Young Women could help her get there, she said.

Of course, the Alabama competition comes with other perks, too, Adkins said.

“I’ve got to experience southern hospitality, which is great,” she said.

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