Miss District of Columbia Deshauna Barber, who earned her master’s in management information systems at University of Maryland University College (UMUC), prevailed over 51 other contestants to win the crown at the Miss USA 2016 pageant held at Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 5.
Barber is a logistics commander for the 988th Quartermaster Detachment Unit of the United States Army in Fort Meade, Maryland, as well as an IT analyst for the United States Department of Commerce.
She said she plans to use her reign as Miss USA to focus on PTSD treatment for soldiers returning from the war.
Barber, whose parents and siblings also serve, joined the military at age 17, according to the Washington Post. Her father was deployed to Iraq following the September 11 attacks in 2001.
“I consider it to be a family tradition,” she said during a preshow interview. “It’s something that runs through our veins — patriotism and service for this country.”
Barber won points with her much-applauded answer during the Q&A portion of the contest. Her background provided context to her response when she was questioned about women in combat.
"As a woman in the United States Army, I think ... we are just as tough as men. As a commander of my unit, I'm powerful, I am dedicated," Barber said. "Gender does not limit us in the United States."
Barber will represent the United States at the Miss Universe 2016 pageant later this year.
Read more about Barber in the Washington Post article on the pageant.
Discover five things to know about Miss USA 2016 Deshauna Barber in US Magazine’s event coverage.