Emily Skeers was competing for Miss Lewis County 2008 when she fell sick with a debilitating illness.
She was eventually diagnosed with a rare form of Crohn’s disease that changed the course of her future.
“I wanted to be an opera singer. Everyone’s experience with Crohn’s is different, but my experience made this dream impossible,” the Missouri State University graduate student said. “I was 28 years old and couldn’t sing, perform or teach.”
Skeers’ life was put on pause for eight months after the diagnosis, and it took three years to reach remission.
Since Skeers couldn’t make a career out of singing, she decided to pursue a different passion: teaching.
Though she lives in Washington, Skeers is currently working on a master’s degree in early childhood and family development online through Missouri State. She plans to graduate in spring 2024.
“Much of my work at Missouri State is tied to my interest in music,” Skeers said. “For my thesis, I am studying the importance of singing lullabies to babies.”
Skeers plans to teach a class on the role of music in childhood development in spring 2023. She will teach in her hometown Olympia, WA.
“Emily takes such a thoughtful approach to her work in her courses and thesis research,” said Dr. Elizabeth King, associate professor of childhood education and family studies at Missouri State.
“I have learned a lot from her about tying meaningful personal experiences to the research process. Working with Emily has been one of the most rewarding and exciting experiences I’ve had at Missouri State.”
Pageants with a purpose
Skeers was crowned United States of America’s Mrs. Washington 2023 in September.
She wants to use her role as USOA Mrs. Washington 2023 to raise awareness for Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. She has already raised nearly $3,000 in donations for the foundation.
The foundation researches treatment for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and improves the quality of life for those diagnosed with these diseases. Skeers created a support group within the foundation for people to share resources and support one another.
Skeers will compete for the title of United States of America’s Mrs. in spring 2023 as the “Queen with Crohn’s.”
She said, “I want to bring attention to Crohn’s disease, garner support for those diagnosed and show people the beauty of resilience.”