School of Dentistry student takes 3rd spot at Miss USA

Ashley Puleo, a first-year School of Dentistry student who was crowned Miss North Carolina USA in October, was named second-runner up in the Miss USA competition Monday.

Fifty-one of America’s most beautiful women competed for the title and the opportunity to represent the United States at the upcoming Miss Universe Pageant. During the three-week pageant period, the girls participated in interviews and photo sessions in Los Angeles.

The judges in the competition included NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, actor Mekhi Phifer from “ER” and fashion designer Jill Stuart.

Puleo, who received her undergraduate degree in sociology from Emory, has traveled throughout the state to champion issues. Relying on her master’s degree in public health from Emory and her work toward a master’s degree in dentistry, Puleo has visited several elementary schools to teach children how to brush their teeth correctly in an effort to spark awareness about dental hygiene.

Quoted in the Daily Tar Heel, Puleo said, “It was very nice to represent North Carolina, but I’m excited to come home as well.”