Out of 52 contestants, Hayley Barber, Miss Alabama 2016, was named the winner of Miss America’s Jean Bartel Quality of Life Award during the second night of preliminaries in Atlantic City. Barber’s platform “Sight for Small Eyes,” encourages eye examinations for young children and raises funds to provide vision therapy for children with low vision through Sight Savers America, a non-profit in Pelham. Her main goal is to get legislation passed that would require comprehensive eye examinations before entering school.
Barber took a year off of her studies as a UAB undergraduate to fulfill her duties as Miss Alabama. She plans to continue her formal education in graduate school for Optometry after her year is completed. Eventually, she wants to open her own private pediatric optometry practice.
Part of her optometry education will be funded by Miss America STEM Scholarship Award. The award is presented to Miss America contestants with a declared field of study in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math.