Desiree Williams1

Desiree Williams is the new Miss Virginia USA 2016.

Hampton University is buzzing with excitement after learning that one of their own will compete in the upcoming Miss USA pageant.

Desiree Williams, 26, an assistant professor of physical therapy at Hampton University (HU), was crowned Miss Virginia USA at a pageant in Charlottesville, Va. on Oct.11. Williams holds a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education and a doctorate in physical education from Hampton.

The Georgia native, who now lives in Newport News, Va., told The (Newport News, Va.) Daily Press that she never imagined she would earn such a honor.

“I never grew up thinking, ‘I’m going to be Miss America’ or ‘I’m going to be Miss USA,’” Williams told the newspaper. ”It’s just sort of something I stumbled into and I just kept going. I never thought in a million years that I’d be Miss Virginia or Miss Virginia USA, or both.”

Williams is used to competing in pageants and winning the crown. According to The Daily Press, she ran for Homecoming Queen her senior year and won the honor of Miss Hampton for the 2010-2011 school year. She was named Miss Virginia in 2013 and won Miss Peninsula in 2012.

Williams won the Miss Virginia USA pageant despite working two jobs. Williams spends her mornings teaching classes and assisting with labs at HU, and spends her afternoons working as a physical therapist for Riverside Health System.

According to the Richmond Free Press, she has also coauthored a book entitled “Love Affair With My Hair: Why Black Women Cheat on Health.”

Williams told the Daily Press that she wants to use her crown as a way to educate and inspire young girls.

“If I want to go … speak to a group of students, I have to go as part of Career Day and they give me maybe five minutes to speak to a classroom of students,” she told the Daily Press. “But as Miss Virginia USA, they’ll literally have a school-wide assembly where I’ll have an hour to hopefully make some impact on the kids. I can truly reach hundreds of kids all at once, sharing my message of goal setting and staying focused on your goals, not letting anything stand in your way and really dreaming larger than you ever could perceive.”