Miss Washington USA 2016, Kelsey Ayano Schmidt, received a B.A. in biology from Scripps College and is currently a pre-doctoral fellow at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) and the University of Washington. Kelsey is a member of Dr. Mario Kratz's lab in the Public Health Sciences division of FHCRC, where her research focuses on investigating the relationship between lifestyle factors and chronic disease. Upon completion of her Ph.D. RD., she plans to open a nutritional consulting firm and continue her research in chronic disease prevention.
Having been teased for being "chubby" growing up, Kelsey is passionate about helping young women embrace a healthy body image and lifestyle. As Kelsey walked her own health journey, she chose to mentor young women to regain their confidence by learning to take care of themselves from the inside out. She will continue to support this platform throughout her year as Miss Washington USA in part by documenting how she physically, emotionally, and nutritionally prepares for the national competition. When Kelsey walks onto the Miss USA stage, she wants everyone to know that you can be physically fit by living a life that embraces long-term health-conscious decisions on a regular basis, while still enjoying delicious and nutritious food!
A vocalist and dancer from the age of 6, Kelsey enjoys performing and has fallen in love with the trapeze! She enjoys checking things off of her "bucket list" and most recently rappelled down a 20-story building to raise funds for Shatterproof, a national organization committed to shattering the stigma surrounding addiction. She is also an avid supporter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and plans to continue serving young people throughout her year.
Kelsey is the daughter of Robert and Diane Schmidt. She has two younger brothers, Garrett and Devon, a feisty cat named Zack, and a large close-knit extended family.