Today, educational advancement, achievement, and public service continue to be the primary objectives for the Miss California Organization in the face of changing roles for women in American society.  We are proud of the young women from our Organization who have excelled in their pursuit of earning a higher education.

Dr. Rita Ng
Miss California 2000

Rita completed her undergraduate studies at Stanford University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a 3.99 GPA, earning a degree in Human Biology with Honors. She was awarded the Stanford Dinkelspiel Award, given to the top two outstanding graduating seniors.

Rita's interest in international health began at Stanford where her thesis work focused on health care access in third world countries for which she was awarded the prestigious Firestone Medal given to the top undergraduate honors thesis and her research work has been published in multiple scientific journals. She earned her Medical Doctorate from the University of California at San Francisco Medical School, completed her Internal Medicine Residency at UCSF, and performed a cardiology fellowship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Read more about Rita HERE

Dr. Wendy Berry Mendes

Dr. Wendy Berry Mendes, Ph.D.
Miss California 1989

Wendy Berry Mendes is the Sarlo/Ekman Associate Professor of Emotion at UC San Francisco. She obtained a Ph.D. in social psychology from UC Santa Barbara in 2003 and then completed a post-doctoral training program in psychology and medicine at UC San Francisco. In 2004 she became an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard University and was promoted to associate professor in 2008. She accepted her current position at UCSF in 2010. Her research questions sit at the intersection of social, personality, and biological psychology and primarily concern questions regarding embodiment – how emotions, thoughts, and intentions are experienced in the body and how bodily responses shape and influence thoughts, behavior and emotions. Some current research areas include coping with stigma and discrimination, dyadic intergroup interactions, affect contagion, mind-body relations across the life course, influence of emotional labeling on emotional experience, and effects of stress on decision-making. Professor Mendes won the Gordon Allport prize in 2008 for the best paper on intergroup relations, the Sage Young Scholar Award for early career contributions in social psychology in 2009, the Janet Spence Award for early career transformative contributions in psychological science in 2011, and for five consecutive years (2006 – 2010) she was named one of Harvard undergraduates “Favorite Professors.”

You can learn more about Dr. Mendes' work by visiting her website.

Crystal Lee
Miss California 2013

In June 2013, Crystal Lee graduated with two degrees from Stanford University: a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Biology and Master of Arts degree in Communication.  She also was the recipient of the $5,000 Miss America foundation STEM scholarship.
This 22 year-old spent her year as Miss California traveling across the world as an advocate for education, public service, and her personal platform of encouraging women in STEM.