Valuable Qualities Aid Fischer in Being Named Miss Oklahoma Director of the Year

June 27, 2024

Must have great organizational and communication skills -- a couple of standard job requirements.

Add having patience, energy, a drive to see things through, excellent texting and social media skills, a sense of style, completing paperwork on time, outstanding work ethic, being a counselor, part-time chauffeur, positivity coach and cheerleader, and it becomes a job listing for Director of the Miss Northwestern Oklahoma State University Competition – all qualifications that describe its current director Paige Fischer perfectly.

Those who work with her see many of these qualities almost daily in her position as Bursar at the university. And, the young women who have held the titles of Miss Northwestern, Miss Northwestern’s Teen and Northwestern Star since she took over as executive director in 2019 have experienced these qualities and more as they each represented the university at their respective Miss Oklahoma competitions.

Miss Oklahoma Executive Board members also noticed Fischer’s valuable qualities at the local level, selecting her as this year’s Miss Oklahoma Director of the Year during the state contest. She was recognized on June 3 with an etched glass award during the Miss Oklahoma Welcome and Scholarship Luncheon before the competition began, and her name was announced during the Miss Oklahoma Finals competition night.

I feel honored to be recognized by the Miss Oklahoma Executive Board,” Fischer said. “I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve in this position within the Miss Oklahoma Organization, especially with the organization’s primary focus on providing fantastic scholarship opportunities to aid titleholders with the cost of higher education. Our titleholders gain professional interview experience, the opportunity to promote a community service initiative, and networking skills during their year of service. The life skills built through the opportunities within the Miss Oklahoma Organization are invaluable, and I know our formers would attest to that statement. Our Miss Northwesterns, Teens and Northwestern Stars have represented Northwestern well in community events and at the Miss Oklahoma Competition.”

Fischer explained that as the local director, she oversees the preliminary contest to the Miss Oklahoma Competition. She also is responsible for completing paperwork and various reports on the local contests. She said that the Miss Oklahoma Office deploys a field director to the local contest in Alva to ensure that all guidelines set forth by the Miss Oklahoma Organization are followed. That field director also serves as an official auditor for the local competition.

celebrating with Paige Fischer
Celebrating Paige Fischer’s win of the 2024 Miss Oklahoma Director of the Year award for her work with the Miss Northwestern contest are (left to right) Megan Spray, 2024 Miss Northwestern; Fischer; Emily Smith, 2023 Miss Northwestern and 2024 Miss Tulsa County; and Christina Jenlink, 2024 Miss Northwestern’s Teen.

Fischer said during the year she stays in close contact with Kay Alexander, executive director for Miss Oklahoma, so she knows what is being done on the local level. All local directors are eligible for the award. No nominations are provided. Forty-one young women won the opportunity to compete in the Miss Oklahoma Competition this year through their local contests along with 34 Teen contestants.

Another aspect of the director’s position for Fischer includes researching the history of the competition’s legacy. In doing so, she discovered that her former teacher at Timberlake, Ferral (Lochner) McKay, was the first-ever Miss Northwestern in 1966 and said it had been a joy to reconnect with her through that discovery.

Some of Fischer’s best memories of past titleholders include the official photoshoots with a professional makeup artist/stylist and hosting personalized and themed send-off parties before they leave for Miss Oklahoma week. She said there have been many shopping adventures, late-night practices, road trips and interview-topic conversations through the years.

However, some of the fondest memories from her years of service include witnessing Miss Northwestern 2023 Emily Smith, Holdenville senior, earn a Rookie Talent Award at Miss Oklahoma 2023, and this year’s Miss Northwestern Megan Spray, Sharon junior, being the only contestant in this year’s Miss Oklahoma competition to play the drums.

“It was incredible to watch Emily’s many years of vocal training and dedication pay off on the Miss Oklahoma stage in a significant way, and Megan was a total crowd pleaser with her drum performance to a Metallica song; she had the entire arena rocking!”

These two young women, along with local teen winner Christina Jenlink, Alva High School junior, have the utmost respect and admiration for Fischer and the help she has given them and other local contestants since 2019.

Smith said hearing Fischer’s name announced as the winner of Director of the Year was one of the top highlights of her week at Miss Oklahoma 2024. Pretty high praise considering Smith, who was competing in this year’s contest as Miss Tulsa County, earned a place in the Top 15 and a $2,000 scholarship for doing so.

Spray said she knew immediately the honor was going to Fischer once a list of the valuable qualities a director must possess was given.

Emily Smith and Megan Spray
Northwestern students Emily Smith (left) and Megan Spray were part of the 2024 Miss Oklahoma Competition in Tulsa in early June. Smith was named to the Top 15 this year and earned a Rookie Talent award in last year’s contest.

Smith and Spray both said Fischer was a “godsend.” They and Jenlink said they had no experience in pageant life and found everything to be a bit terrifying, overwhelming at times and somewhat of a whirlwind.

“I walked into the title not quite sure of what I had gotten myself into, but Paige was there every step of the way encouraging me and giving me the confidence needed to achieve my goals,” Smith said. “I say my life has been forever changed after winning Miss Northwestern and that is because I have gotten to work with the amazing Paige Fischer. She absolutely made my Miss Northwestern experience.”

Fischer’s positivity skills were put to the test by Spray after a public speaking experience during a dinner in April with the Miss Oklahoma Board. Spray said contestants’ names were drawn randomly to speak on a provided topic, something she admits she isn’t comfortable with without some preparation.

“After dinner, I got in the car with my mom and immediately called Paige and told them both what had happened,” Spray said. “They were laughing so hard because they knew how mortified I was. Paige managed to turn that experience into a positive one by reminding me, ‘It only gets better from here!’”

Jenlink said that Fischer was always there providing answers to her questions and giving her the confidence to continue with lots of great advice.

“About four days before we left for Miss Oklahoma's Teen, I met with Paige at Northwestern to go over some things like modeling and talent,” Jenlink said. “I had been so stressed out, that I couldn't play my talent piece correctly. I was so worried about what Paige would say about it. She actually just gave me plenty of tips and helped me work on it. Then she talked to me for a while and helped put my mind at ease, and all of Miss OK week, she was constantly checking up on Megan and me.”

Being named a Rookie Talent winner in her first year of competing is something Smith said she’ll remember forever, especially because the rehearsals right before her talent segment in the contest were some of the worst she had ever experienced. She said Fischer kept encouraging her and reminding her she could possibly win that award. She said she’ll never forget the moment she saw her family and friends at visitation, and Fischer looked at her with tears in her eyes, hugged her and said, “You did it!” And, Smith replied, “We did it!”

After winning the title of Miss Tulsa County on Oct. 1, 2023, Fischer was no longer Smith’s director, but the two remained closer than ever. Smith said that Fischer continued to be there for her whether it was for wardrobe advice, emotional support or getting help with talent prep.

“I like to say I got the best of both worlds with Paige as my first director and Mary (Shklar) Conner, Miss Northwestern 2016, as my Miss Tulsa County director,” Smith said. “I was truly blessed this year.”

Smith has so many stories she could share about her adventures with Fischer, which shows a bond that will never break.

“I love Paige with all my heart and am incredibly grateful for her friendship and guidance,” Smith said. “From one of the very first times I met Paige, I told her she reminded me of a ray of sunshine and the more I’ve gotten to know her that statement becomes more and more true every day.”

All three young ladies said they had the best experiences in the Miss Oklahoma Competition.

“I grew in ways I never imagined, stepped out of my comfort zone and embraced a new side of myself I had never seen,” Spray said. “It was truly inspiring to be surrounded by strong, empowering women and to have the opportunity to learn from them. The friendships I made are something I will forever cherish. A comment I made to my family about some of the girls was ‘She will be in my wedding someday,’ just to put into perspective how much they mean to me.”

Smith, who in two years of competing in these contests has earned more than $6,000 in scholarships to further her education, will be student teaching in the fall of 2024 and will graduate in December with a vocal music education degree. She will then be searching for a teaching position and eventually pursuing a master’s degree in choral conducting to become a music director at the collegiate level. And, yes, she does see herself continuing a path in the Miss Oklahoma competition because of the scholarship and service opportunities that have greatly benefitted her life.

Former title holders celebrating the crowning of Miss Northwestern
Former title holders have a bit of fun following the crowning of Megan Spray as the 2024 Miss Northwestern in October 2023 including Emily Smith (2023), Carli Seabolt (2022), Mary Shklar Conner (2016) and Cali Crissup Fitzpatrick (2010).

Spray, who hasn’t decided yet if she’ll continue to compete for the opportunity to be in the Miss Oklahoma Competition, earned a $1,200 scholarship for competing at Miss Oklahoma and a $1,500 scholarship for winning the title of Miss Northwestern. The mass communication major spent the last two years as an assistant girls’ basketball coach at Alva High School and plans to continue working as a game-day employee for the Northwestern athletics department. She noted that after graduating from Northwestern, her career ambition is to be a head girls’ basketball coach or a sports broadcaster for basketball or baseball, so she would like to be involved with the mass comm program’s broadcasting area. She also plans to grow her network within the childhood cancer research field and continue her community service initiative of “Action & Awareness for Childhood Cancer: Fight Like a Kid!” to raise awareness about children in Oklahoma currently fighting the disease. She hopes to make “Gold Night” games a regularly scheduled athletic event throughout the state to raise awareness and provide opportunities for others to donate to a local childhood cancer foundation.

By competing in the contest, Jenlink has gained confidence, improved speaking skills and earned many scholarships. She explained this is her last year of teen eligibility should she choose to compete again but does have plans to compete for a Miss title in the future. After graduation, she plans to attend Northwestern where she will be a fourth-generation Ranger.

As Fischer reminisces about her time as the local director while also looking forward to the next competition, she said that over the years, she has learned that every Miss Northwestern/Teen is different, which makes each one uniquely perfect to represent the university.

“Our judges always hit the mark on selecting young ladies who represent the university’s mission and Northwest Oklahoma in the best light possible,” Fischer said. “I have found that focusing on our titleholders’ strengths and working forward from there is the key to building and maintaining long-lasting confidence not only on the stage and in the interview room but in every aspect of life.”

Northwestern will play host to its next Miss Northwestern and Teen Competitions on Sunday, Oct. 27. Eligibility requirements and more information are available at  

Those with questions about any aspects of the Miss Northwestern Competition may contact Fischer at or (580) 327-8533.

“I am excited to continue to grow our program into the future,” Fischer said. “I look forward to the day when we have a Miss Oklahoma with ties to Northwestern.”


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