As a youth, Anne Michael Langguth spent her allowance buying medical books and turned one of her dad’s old workshirts into a lab coat.
As Miss Iowa and in her new partnership with the University Hygienic Laboratory, Langguth, 22, will promote science careers to Iowa youths who might have similar dreams.
The Iowa City native was introduced today as the Coralville-based lab’s Environmental and Public Health Ambassador.
Studies show in the next 11 years, more than 4,200 public health jobs are expected to be vacant in Iowa due to a shortage of skilled workers and another 250,000 vacancies are expected nationwide.
Langguth will visit with students and science teachers to help fill that void.
An aspiring Miss America might seem an odd choice to partner with a public health lab, but with Langguth, the choice made sense, said lab director Christopher Atchison.
Atchison noted that Langguth graduated this year from Harvard University and was accepted into the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.
Langguth can draw attention to the looming work force shortages and raise awareness of the variety of careers in science, Atchison said.
“Sometimes public health is a bit invisible,” he said, noting that it’s hard to demonstrate the prevention role served by the lab.
Crowned shortly after graduation, Langguth will defer her entry into med school for one year to serve as Miss Iowa.
Langguth said her career choice, which likely will involve public health policy, was influenced by positive role models and mentors.
Her father, Brad Langguth, is a banker and mother, Nancy Langguth, is a teacher in the University of Iowa College of Education.
Langguth said she will discuss her role as ambassador during the Miss America competition in January in Las Vegas.