From STEM to hem, combat boots to high heels, she’s now wearing a crown



Air Guard Staff Sgt. Elizabeth McJannet-Bratton was crowned Miss Alaska Collegiate 2021 during an Oct. 24 competition in Palmer. McJannet-Bratton is the noncommissioned officer in charge for Inbound Cargo, 176th Logistics Readiness Squadron.

McJannet-Bratton’s platform of “Combat Boots to High Heels” underscored her lifelong conviction that women can pursue careers in defense and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, without sacrificing a sense of femininity.

“The platform is about inspiring young women with the knowledge you can be in the military or a STEM career field, and also be confident in yourself while being as girly as you want to be,” she said. “Those aren’t mutually exclusive things.”

The manifold path to capturing the Miss Alaska Collegiate sash began in Sydney, Australia, where McJannet-Bratton was born to an Australian mother, Michelle, and an American father, David. Her parents met in Anchorage during a walkabout sojourn for both that had them crossing paths in the Last Frontier.

The family moved to the United States when McJannet-Bratton was 2, settling in Erie, Colorado, where she grew up. David, a commercial pilot and aerospace engineer, worked on designing the Atlas V space rocket, inspiring his daughter to seek for herself a life of wings and rocket boosters.

“I basically grew up on Star Trek,” she said.

A Girl Scout who lettered in choir and track and field, McJannet-Bratton’s aeronautic pursuits led the 16-year-old to the Civil Air Patrol and an encampment that would further cement her interest in aircraft and the military.

During a subsequent summer camp at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, McJannet-Bratton said she developed a yen for the state on the edge of the Arctic. She joined the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Wing as an air transportation specialist.

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  1. As a 50+ year member of CAP, I can only applaud this young woman’s journey. More power and success to you in all aspects of your life’s journeys.

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