Release Date: 
Tuesday, July 30, 2019

HFC nursing student crowned Miss Oakland County 2019

photo of Grace Newlin
HFC nursing student Grace Newlin was crowned Miss Oakland County 2019 on July 13. Photo by Robert Bowden Photography.

It took HFC nursing student Grace Newlin five tries, but she was crowned Miss Oakland County 2019 at the annual competition July 13 at the Oakland University (OU) Dodge Hill Auditorium in Rochester.

“Five was the lucky number for me this year,” said Newlin, of Farmington Hills, an alumna of Farmington High School. She earned her EMT certification from Schoolcraft College and completed some coursework at University of Michigan-Dearborn.

The youngest of three, Newlin – who has been involved in pageants for several years – will represent Oakland County at the 2020 Miss Michigan competition, which will be held next June in Muskegon.


Newlin won $1,675 in scholarships, as well as several other prizes and gifts. She plans to use the funds to pay for her tuition at HFC, where she’ll earn her associate degree in nursing at the end of 2019. Newlin also won a $1,525 in-kind scholarship from the OU School of Engineering and Computer Science.

During the Miss Oakland County Competition, Newlin sang Louis Armstrong’s classic hit single “What a Wonderful World.”

“That’s such a well-known song with a fantastic message,” said Newlin, who was active in choir and theater in high school. “You can’t listen to it without it putting a smile on your face. I’m very happy when I sing this song and that comes across on people’s expressions.”

Keep the beat

Her social impact initiative is “Keep the Beat – Heart Disease Education.” Heart disease runs in her family. Newlin has campaigned to spread awareness about heart disease, participating in events with the American Heart Association, as well as creating a Facebook page. With her media presence elevated since becoming Miss Oakland County, she wants promote her social impact initiative statewide.

“For me, the draw for participating in these competitions is not only the scholarship funds, but also the chance to do community service and develop leadership skills,” said Newlin. “I’ve learned to have a lot of determination and perseverance. I also learned how to fail and to pick yourself back up and to keep going. Pageants teaches you skills that most people won’t develop until much later. I’ve also gained a lot of leadership skills, communications skills, poise, confidence. This organization will make me an even better nurse.”

True calling is nursing

Originally, Newlin started her education at UM-Dearborn, majoring in international studies. However, she discovered that international studies was not a good fit and reevaluated her priorities. Realizing that she excelled in biology and wanted to go into the medical field, Newlin initially worked as an EMT in Detroit for a year. However, she decided that nursing was her true calling.

“As an EMT, you’re treating a patient for a half hour, and then you leave,” said Newlin. “As a nurse, you want to establish a relationship with patients and form a rapport with them and their family. That’s where I feel I can make the most difference.”

Upon graduation in December, Newlin plans to take the NCLEX licensure exam to become a registered nurse on top of her duties as Miss Oakland County. She plans to continue her education at Wayne State University in Detroit, where she’ll pursue her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Being part of Detroit’s comeback

Newlin also would like to work for either the Detroit Medical Center or Henry Ford Hospital. She completed her clinical rotations at both medical centers and enjoyed the experience.

“I want to be part of why Detroit is making a comeback. I want to be part of why our health care system is incredible,” said Newlin. “One year in Detroit is the equivalent of three years elsewhere. You see and do so much. Detroit’s the best place for me.”

Excellent learning experience at HFC

“HFC’s nursing program is very well known throughout the state of Michigan. HFC was a good fit for me. I was a guest student here, and then came back full-time when I applied to the nursing program. I loved the science teachers here,” she said.

HFC nursing professor Missy Mata is proud of her former student.

"I had the distinct pleasure of teaching Grace Newlin during her first and third semester within the nursing program at HFC," said Mata. "During my time with Grace, she showed tremendous dedication to her studies. Her love for nursing was evident. During class Grace could be counted on to contribute to the conversation and would ask excellent questions to further her learning and the learning of her peers. Grace was punctual, inquisitive, and professional. I am certain that Grace will do an excellent job representing Oakland County, just as she has represented HFC as a nursing student."

In turn, Newlin spoke highly about Mata, as well as nursing professor Nancy Borkin and biology professor Greg Karapetian.

“(Karapetian) is one of the reasons I’m going into nursing. He made biology fun,” said Newlin. “I love the faculty in the science department here. All my instructors were great."