For current students and faculty/staff

NHTI Student to Compete for Miss New Hampshire

NHTI student and Miss New Hampshire contestant Jillian Mars (left) jokes with Marsha Bourdon, NHTI business officer, during a campus event.
NHTI student and Miss New Hampshire contestant Jillian Mars (left) jokes with Marsha Bourdon, NHTI business officer, during a campus event.

CONCORD – You can’t help but admire what Jillian Mars has to say – after all, she wears a sparkly hat.

The current college student proudly serves as Miss Berlin-Gorham, a local title affiliated with the Miss America pageant. This April, Mars will represent her town, college, and ideals of community service in the Miss New Hampshire pageant, to be held at Pinkerton Academy’s Stockbridge Theatre in Derry.

Though she did not grow up in the Granite State, Mars has always realized the importance of public service. She volunteers at as many community-based events as her schedule permits.

“Choosing to be kind is free of charge,” she says. “I’ve felt such a sense of fulfillment from being able to make my community a better place one day at a time. Service makes my heart happy.”

Choosing Community Through NHTI

It’s this love for community that drew her to NHTI – Concord’s Community College, where she is studying to become a radiologic technologist in the footsteps of her mother, who attended a 2-year college for the same profession in their New Jersey hometown.

After taking a few gap years out of high school, Mars followed her family from New Jersey to New Hampshire to pursue a better life. She found her opportunity at NHTI, where in addition to awaiting acceptance into the college’s highly competitive Radiologic Technology program, she serves on Student Senate and is involved in planning events all year on campus.

“In my community college experience, you have to pay attention to the active word: Community,” she says. “NHTI focuses on helping those within our local community. Academically, there is truly a community of people ready, willing, and able to help you achieve your goals. Getting involved with the campus community has been the most rewarding decision I have made while attending college and has given me a new world of possibilities.”

“Jill is one of my favorite people,” says Dr. Patrick Tompkins, NHTI president. “She’s kind, optimistic, smart, and hardworking. It’s fun that she is participating in these pageants, but they are serious business too, and Jillian is a woman of talent and determination. We’re proud she’s an NHTI Lynx.”

Writing Her Own Success Story

Her journey to the Miss New Hampshire crown began during her New Jersey childhood, where she practiced dance and she moved to New Hampshire at age 19 did she feel the performance bug strike again.

“After we moved, I saw a billboard congratulating the then-Miss New Hampshire Ashley Marsh,” she recalls. “I remembered how it felt to be on stage in the spotlight and thought, ‘Why not? There’s no one in this state I know. If it goes badly, I’ll never see those girls again.’ I signed up for the next local pageant for which I was eligible and was hooked.”

Her strength of character and confidence sparks a fiery personality that she carries in all facets of her life both on and off the pageant stage.

“While participating in the Miss New Hampshire program for the last three years,” she says, “I have earned just over $10,000 in scholarship money. That has paid for the entirety of my education while I have been a student at NHTI, and I am grateful for the opportunity to go to school debt free.

“My participation in the program has also opened doors to many incredible opportunities around the state. Some of my favorites have been helping run the Miss Inspiration pageant, getting to teach interview and public speaking skills, and being a volunteer assistant coach for a local color guard team. I am so grateful to have earned several community service awards and to have endless opportunities to serve communities all over New Hampshire. I am eagerly looking forward to volunteering at more events in the future.”

Jill Mars

Supporting Social Impact Initiatives

Community service is not her only passion: Mars is a spokesperson for the International Essential Tremor Foundation, a community for which she is an authentic voice. She began exhibiting symptoms of the neurological condition, which include rhythmic trembling of the hands, feet, voice, and/or trunk, when she was in her teens and was officially diagnosed at age 21. As a representative of the Miss New Hampshire organization, Mars chose the IETF as her social impact initiative. She was featured in the October 2022 issue of Tremor Talk magazine and continues to raise awareness of her experience as a member of the IETF community.

“I have loved representing IETF on stage,” she says. “I have been so excited to talk about the amazing work the foundation does.”

Deserving of the Crown

With the whole of the NHTI community behind her on the road to the Miss New Hampshire pageant, Mars has truly found her place.

“I knew Jill was destined to do great things,” says Kaitlin Moody, NHTI’s director of Student Life and Student Senate advisor. “When she first came to Student Senate, she was looking for support for an event she wanted to get the NHTI student body involved in. Not only did she walk into our meeting knowing no one, she left the meeting as a Senate member and started showing up weekly. Fast forward a year and she is now the treasurer. Jill has the drive and determination to chase her dreams. She is smart, talented, and always willing to try things outside her comfort zone. NHTI is lucky to have her, and we can’t wait to see what she does next.”

The Miss New Hampshire pageant features 26 women representing their local communities throughout the state. The event will take place in April 2024 at the Stockbridge Theatre on the campus of Derry’s Pinkerton Academy. For more information about the event and how to attend, visit https://www.missnh.org/.

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NHTI – Concord’s Community College

NHTI – Concord’s Community College is a dynamic public 2-year college that provides rewarding academics and a full campus experience for students, businesses, and the community. NHTI offers 80+ academic programs to 4,600+ students annually. Our programs include Nursing, Dental Hygiene, Engineering, Liberal and Visual Arts, Education, Criminal Justice, and Mathematics, all with our stellar reputation for academic excellence earned over our more than 50 years serving the Concord community. NHTI is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the NE Association of Schools and Colleges and is part of the Community College System of New Hampshire.

Press Contact           Amber Gavriluk  |  603-230-4001  |  agavriluk@ccsnh.edu

 

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