Marriebeth Cox Golden Girl Merriebeth Cox gets a crown from Miss Indiana 2011, Jackie Jerlecki.

Did you see Purdue University Golden Girl MerrieBeth Cox competing in the annual Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas?

Cox was selected among the 12 finalists at the event, broadcast nationwide on January 12. It’s a role she has been preparing for since she was crowned Miss Indiana in June. Her talent was baton twirling.

Cox grew up in Roselle, Ill., and has watched the Miss America Pageant all her life. In 2007 she was Miss Illinois Outstanding Teen. “Making the top 12 was amazing,” she says. “It was an incredible feeling that a lot of hard work had really paid off. I felt truly blessed. It was the best experience of my life.”

Cox is the first Purdue Golden Girl to hold that title for five years. In March she traveled with the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band and took part in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, Ireland.

“Being Golden Girl has also been a blessing,” she says. “It’s been so much fun and it’s opened so many doors for me.”

She is studying physical education and health and will graduate in December.

Alexa Phillips

Alexa Phillips shines as new Purdue Golden Girl

Alexa Phillips of Orlando, Fla., an incoming freshman, shined in February auditions to earn the title of Purdue’s newest Golden Girl.

Phillips is now the feature twirler at Lake Nona High School in Orlando. She was crowned 2012 Senior Miss Majorette of Florida.

Phillips becomes Golden Girl No. 28 in a tradition started by Al G. Wright, director of bands emeritus, in 1954.

She will make her debut at Purdue’s opening home football game of 2013 on Sept. 7 against Indiana State.