Miss Indiana USA Ready For National Competition (NBC33 VIDEO)

By Eric Dutkiewicz

May 23, 2013 Updated May 24, 2013 at 12:17 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.nbc33.com) - Emily Hart's journey to become Miss Indiana USA 2013 dates back seven years ago when she started college at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.

"Scholarship money," Hart, who also graduated from Homestead High School, remembers. "That's what drew me in."

Hart would become active in the Miss America scholarship organization, winning the crowns for Miss IPFW, Miss Fort Wayne and Miss Three Rivers.

Hart then joined the Miss Universe organization, competing multiple times for Miss Indiana USA. In October, she finally won the crown.

"It's a self esteem booster," Hart says of competing. "It also helps you push yourself to become a better person. Yes, it's stressful; and yes, there's a lot of pressure involved, and backstage nerves involved. But, if you have the confidence to get up on stage, and perform, and to be judged, it takes a lot of courage."

Hart helped launch Our Turn To Serve, a non-profit organization in Roanoke that helps disabled veterans settle into home. Our Turn To Serve also provides therapy dogs to troops who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder upon their return home from war.

"It's a great way to help veterans who are suffering."

Hart will leave for Las Vegas, site of the Miss USA pageant, on May 31. She plans on taking five bags of luggage for the 2½-week trip.

"You got to be on," Hart says. "Seven days of competiton for one of the biggest jobs in the country."

Part of this years selection of Miss USA is a viewer vote category. Supporters can log on to MissUSA.com and vote up to 10 times per day through the night of competition.

Miss USA will air on June 16 live on NBC.

To see the entire interview with Miss Indiana USA 2013 Emily Hart from NBC33 News at 4, click on the video icon.

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