Alexandria Warneke and Leland Gowins

News-Times/Steve Moseley - Alexandria Warneke asks about the project of Emmanuel-Faith fifth-grader Leland Gowins during the recent elementary science fair at the York City Auditorium.

YORK – Alexandria Warneke has noticed she belongs to a minority … not once but twice over.

The junior at York High finds herself in a small demographic first because of her passion for science. When that group is shaken down again by gender she becomes even more of a rare species as a female with deep interest in science.

Warneke will do all she can to expand those boundaries around her by making that topic her platform entitled “Where a Beautiful Brain Can STEM From” in this week’s Miss Nebraska’s Outstanding Teen scholarship pageant in Omaha.

The competition is the teen division of the Miss America Pageant. In place of the swimsuit competition Warneke and her fellow contestants will demonstrate their fitness.

In the talent portion of the judging she will showcase her ballet skills with a pointe dance to “Zou Bisou Bisou.”

Warneke has performed in the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company’s “The Nutcracker” at the Lied Center and has mentored children at Kirby’s School of Dance in York since the seventh grade.

On an Education First Tour she visited London, Rome, Florence and Paris, where she took a ballet class.

At York High she participates in: FBLA, mock trial, show choir, dance team, musical production and speech.

The competition for Warneke begins tomorrow (Friday) when a panel of judges will interview her in detail and at length about her resume, pageant platform, personality, poise and personal background.

The daughter of Chris and Tonya Warneke will step under the stage lights Saturday in the public portion of the contest.

Each contestant will be judged in four categories: fitness routine, talent, evening gown and, finally, how each answers an on-stage question at the microphone.

The winner will be crowned yet Saturday night based on an overall point system compiled by three to four judges.

“They don’t judge us against each other,” she explained.

Should she win, Warneke pledges to promote her girls in science platform statewide, then move on to the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen competition in Orlando.

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Warneke readily admits she is “big into science.” That passion produced her platform, she said, “Because I’ve always kind of been going to science competitions and conventions where I found mostly boys. I was beating them,” she said with a small grin, “so I knew I had what it takes.”

She credits a Women in Science conference at UNL for ramping up her enthusiasm for science another step higher.

“I was inspired by the female (science) professors,” at UNL, she said. “That kind of pushed me even more.

“What a lot of girls don’t realize is that science and math actually has to do with everything” in daily life.

Warneke, an honor roll student, is currently taking four college credit classes at YHS. She aspires to obtain a juris doctorate and become an environmental attorney.

A $2,000 scholarship and other prizes will be awarded to the pageant winner. Scholarship amounts for the four placers are $700, $600, $500 and $400.


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