Aug. 25, 2014
By Steven Norris
This feature will appear in the game program for Saturday’s season-opening football game vs. Wofford.
Maggie Bridges has traded dirt roads and pickup trucks for a tiara, at least for the next year.
“My dad’s a commercial farmer, so that’s actually what we do. We legitimately grow crops,” explains Bridges, a Georgia Tech senior and the current Miss Georgia.
Bridges, a native of Brinson, Georgia, left her tiny hometown to come to Tech and is now thriving in Atlanta, a metro area of 6 million.
“It’s a huge transition from a town with 300 people,” Bridges says. “I’m loving life. I love Georgia Tech.”
Bridges realizes beauty pageants may not be the first thing you might associate with a Georgia Tech student.
“I feel like being a female at Tech, it’s kind of your duty to break stereotypes.”
While she knocks down those stereotypes in preparation for the Miss America pageant in September, she has built up a wide network of support.
“I’ve had an incredible response. I’m so thankful that our school has been so supportive,” she explains.
Bridges is well known across campus. She has served as a campus tour guide welcoming potential students and as a student ambassador. She says it’s been the perfect opportunity to share her love of Georgia Tech with others.
“You have no excuse to come to Georgia Tech and not be 100 percent you,” she advises. “You can come here and be a science genius, or you can come here and be Miss Georgia.”
Ask her about her favorite class since she has been at Georgia Tech, and you get a bit of a surprise response.
“CS (Computer Science) 1371,” she says with no hesitation. “I didn’t realize how much I was going to love coding.”
As she nears graduation, she’s looking for a way to combine all of the things she loves into a career path. An interest in the sciences from her upbringing on the farm, exposure to the health industry from her mother’s career as a nurse, and an affinity for marketing have led her toward a degree in business administration with plans to attend pharmacy school after she completes her undergraduate degree.
“I think with every Tech student you try to find your passion and then keep pursuing it in the real world.”
Until coming to Georgia Tech, Bridges had never been outside of the United States. She was accepted into a study abroad program and she began 2014 traveling through Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.
“It was an amazing experience. Seeing the beaches in Fiji was priceless.”
Bridges’ father encouraged her to take the opportunity to expand her world view while she was at Georgia Tech. Heeding that advice, she soaked up every adventure she could during her time overseas. She swam in a freezing glacial lake, went skydiving, and went Scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef.
The trip through the South Pacific was just the first dream come true. Now there is a second dream of competing on the Miss America stage, fulfilling a goal Bridges has been working on for years.
“Find your dream and go after it with everything you have,” she says.
Bridges will compete against 52 other contestants for the title of Miss America on Sunday, September 14. The competition will be broadcast live on ABC.