Miss England Inspires Girls by Becoming a Rocket Scientist

Her mission is to get more women and girls involved in STEM.


Miss England aspires to be an astronaut.

 (Courtesy Miss England)

Miss England, Jessica Gagen, is not your ordinary beauty pageant winner. She just added an impressive title, rocket scientist, to her resume.

The 27-year-old just graduated from the University of Liverpool with a degree in Aerospace Engineering and she has set her sights on becoming an astronaut, reported The Manchester Evening News.

But winning her title just a few months before completing her degree was no easy task for the feisty redhead from Kelmersdale. She is the first ginger – and the first rocket scientist – to be crowned Miss England.

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A post shared by Miss England 22/23 | Jessica Ashley Gagen (@jessicaashley_)

The journey to her degree
Gagen was able to juggle her competition and her school work but the stress of doing both left her with chest pains and insomnia. However, she persevered as she had when she was bullied for her red locks as a child, reported The Daily Mail.

“The journey to get to this point was a rocky five years in the making, and I faced challenges before I'd even began,” Gagen told The Daily Mail. “I think it's important that today's youth know that sometimes things don't go entirely to plan, and that's perfectly okay.”

Before starting at the university, Gagen studied a foundation year in physics while working weekends because she didn’t have all the courses she needed for the program. She began studying at the university in 2019 and when the Covid 19 pandemic hit, all the course work went online. She did this while working full time at night.

“I'd return home to do that day's online lectures and assignments and then stop at 8 pm to get ready for bed, before the cycle would repeat - I was constantly knackered, but I was a mature student and had bills to pay.”

Becoming Miss England
During the course of her studies, Gagen saw that there were very few females in STEM and decided to make it her mission to promote careers in science for women and girls on her social media. This exposure led to her being scouted for the Miss England contest.

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A post shared by Miss England 22/23 | Jessica Ashley Gagen (@jessicaashley_)

 In the first year, she won Miss Lancashire and placed second in the national contest but she really wanted to win to promote her mission. There's a lot of work that goes into becoming Miss England, and I really wanted to win because I knew I could use the platform to get more girls into engineering,” she said.

In 2022 Ganger was accepted into an integrated Master’s program and she entered the Miss England pageant again. This time she won. “I was ecstatic and life went crazy,” she said.

Because of time constraints, she went back into a bachelors program and plans on continuing on for a masters later. For now, Miss England visits schools to speak about STEM, and she said she plans to be “the first beauty queen in space.”

Gagen will represent England in the Miss World competition in December, 2023 where she hopes to spread her empowering mission around the globe.

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