PhD student passes Miss Arizona Latina crown to W. P. Carey junior

By

Kimberly Koerth

"Our culture is our biggest pride, and that pride will be our success."

That is the phrase Yulissa Felix kept repeating throughout her journey as a contestant in the Miss Arizona Latina competition, a journey that will soon take her across the country to compete in the Miss U.S. Latina pageant.

Felix, a junior in the W. P. Carey School of Business pursuing bachelor’s degrees in management and human resources, was named the winner of the Miss Arizona Latina competition last month. She was crowned by the previous year’s titleholder, Nancy Gomez, who is a doctoral student in Spanish with a specialization in Mexican American literature.

Felix originally wanted to wait until after she graduated from ASU to enter the competition, but she said Gomez inspired her to enter this year. Felix said she was shocked when she heard her name called as the winner of the pageant, but that her initial surprise quickly melted into pride and gratitude.

“I worked hard and prepared myself for this competition, and it felt good knowing that it was reflected on stage,” Felix said. “I feel super honored to have been given the privilege to represent our Arizona Latina women this year.”

She also represents ASU through a number of extracurricular activities. Felix works in the front office of the School of International Letters and Cultures. She is the president of Sigma Lambda Gamma, a multicultural sorority, and is involved with the Fraternity and Sorority Life sexual violence prevention program. She is also a member of the Hispanic Business Students Association.

Gomez, who went on to win the Miss U.S. Latina pageant as well last year, said Felix is the perfect candidate to take over her title.

“I truly believe that she is very deserving of the title,” Gomez said. “She is a very intelligent and confident woman, active in her community and, most importantly, she embraces her Latino heritage to the maximum.”

Felix also received the Miss Excellence Award at the pageant, which is given to the contestant with the best interview. In August, she will travel to Atlanta to participate in the Miss U.S. Latina competition.

“With the help of the Miss Arizona Latina team, I will prepare myself for this national competition in the hope of bringing the crown back to Arizona, just like Nancy Gomez did a year ago,” Felix said. “For me, the crown represents how proud I am of being a minority woman, a Latina. It represents the growth we have had from generation to generation.”