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Health, Self-Esteem, Character Focal Points of Conference for Young Women Feb. 27 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Contact David Tisdale, 601.266.4499   

Miss University of Southern Mississippi Kristen Benigno will incorporate  her platform that focuses on helping young girls build self-esteem and character into a conference set for Saturday, Feb. 27 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the university’s Thad Cochran Center.

The Confidently You Conference is for 5th and 6th grade girls in the Pine Belt area and will include workshops and small groups addressing self-esteem, discussing media's distortion of beauty and stressing the importance of healthy living.

Southern Miss President Martha Saunders will give the keynote address; former Miss Mississippi and current Southern Miss student Christine Kozlowski and members of the Southern Miss chapter of Kappa Delta sorority will make presentations at the conference.

Benigno has the qualities of confidence, poise and passion to compete in pageants, but she didn't always have that positive self-image, recalling the awkwardness of her middle school years. "I felt like I was always going to look that way," she said.  "I wish I had had someone come talk to me about having confidence." 

Now she’s taking on that role, bringing a message of hope for girls going through that difficult transition she knows so well.  For the past three years, Kristen's platform has been "Confidently You!: Building Character and Self Esteem in Young Women” in which she presents to area middle and junior high school girls about the “characteristics of the journey of excellence,” including respect; character; positive attitude; hard work and perseverance.

Her presentations also include a viewing of before and after pictures of celebrities with and without make-up, followed by a discussion of how the definition of beauty is distorted. 

A junior from Laurel, Miss. Benigno is a speech communication major and a member of Eagle Connection, Kappa Delta sorority and Lambda Sigma Honor Society. She won the Miss University of Southern Mississippi crown last November and will compete for the title of Miss Mississippi July 7-10 in Vicksburg.

Those interested in participating in this conference are encouraged to register by Feb. 22. This event is free; a $10 donation will be accepted to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network in support of children’s hospitals in Mississippi. For more information or to register, contact Kristen Benigno at This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it ; or contact Southern Miss Associate Dean of Students Brooks Moore at 601.266.6028.  

Kristen Benigno

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities.  In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world.  Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at


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